End of project report on degradation processes in hydrogen fuel cells.

End of project report on degradation processes in hydrogen fuel cells.

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    Proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells are one of the most popular types of fuel cells. They operate similarly to others with the electrolyte material inbetween the electrodes being a patented polymer called NafionĀ®, made by DuPont. This polyelectrolyte, or ionomer, is a perfluorinated substance similar to TeflonĀ®, with side branches containing ether groups ending in a sulfonated group. This sulfonate group provides the conductivity of hydrogen ions (or protons, H+) that are produced from hydrogen gas fuel at the anode through to the cathode where they react with oxygen to form water. Our research has primarily focused on the effect of damaging high energy radiation on the integrity of this membrane and the performance of the fuel cell. Fuel cells on long space flights or on space stations will be subjected to significant amounts of cosmic radiation. We are able to test the effect of X-radiation with the use of an X-ray diffractometer (XRD) available in our laboratories.
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