Characterization of a Sulfonated Poly(Ionic Liquid) Block Copolymer as an Ionomer for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells using Rotating Disk Electrode Academic Article uri icon


  • Ionic liquid (IL) additives to both traditional and advanced oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) electrocatalysts have yielded remarkable improvements in catalyst performance and durability. However, incorporating ILs or IL-modified catalysts into the electrodes of a proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) membrane electrode assembly (MEA) has proven to be challenging. Sulfonated poly(ionic liquid) block copolymers (S-PILBCP) present an opportunity to incorporate IL functionality directly into the ionomer, orthogonal to protonic conductivity. Here, we use a rotating disc electrode (RDE) to characterize the interface between a S-PILBCP and Pt catalyst in comparison to Nafion. Catalyst thin films prepared with S-PILBCP show an 80% improvement in the ORR activity over those containing Nafion. Thin films of S-PILBCP also show a significantly reduced degree of poisoning sulfonate adsorption on a Pt(111) surface in comparison to Nafion. These half-cell results provide useful insights that help to highlight the source of the impact of the S-PILBCP on PEMFC MEA performance.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Gawas, R., Sun, R., Li, Y., Neyerlin, K. C., Elabd, Y. A., Tang, M., & Snyder, J.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Gawas, Ramchandra||Sun, Rui||Li, Yawei||Neyerlin, Kenneth C||Elabd, Yossef A||Tang, Maureen||Snyder, Joshua

publication date

  • January 2021