Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.Ch.E.

Degree Granting Department

Chemical Engineering

Major Professor

John T. Wolan, Ph.D.

Keywords

Solid acid, Electrolyte, Methanol, Hydrogen, MEA

Abstract

In this work the use of the solid acid CsHSO4 as an electrolyte in a hydrogen/oxygen fuel cell or the disassociation of water into hydrogen and oxygen has been investigated. Several issues have been cited in literature regarding the use of CsHSO4 as a solid electrolyte; these include: difficulty interpreting proton conductivity profiles of real membranes, high permeability of the membrane to fuel and product gases, and low mechanical strength. In an attempt to improve our understanding and possibly eliminate these issues, performance characteristics of prepared CsHSO4 membranes have been investigated utilizing various methods of synthesis and membrane fabrication. A consistent method of CsHSO4 membrane construction was developed based on these investigations. In addition, a novel method of sintering to decrease the membrane's permeability to fuel gases was developed and evaluated. The effects of these measures were investigated and tested in a prototype cell for proof of concept of fuel cell and electrolysis applications.

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