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October 9, 2012

Speaker: Jennie Eastcott, Materials Science PhD candidate

Title: Electrochemical Studies of Ceramic Carbon Electrodes Prepared with Sulfonated Organosilane Precursors

Abstract: Fuel cells are energy conversion devices which have the potential to replace current technologies used to power vehicles, laptops, and mobile devices. Ceramic carbon electrodes (CCEs) are prospective candidates for electrode materials in proton exchange membrane fuel cells due to their high surface area, water retention properties, and durability. To maintain proton conductivity in the catalyst layer, CCEs have been prepared from a mixture of sulfonated and non-sulfonated organosilane precursors combined with carbon-supported platinum catalyst. Incorporating small amounts of sulfonated silane in the CCE structure can facilitate profound enhancement of catalytic activity and proton conductivity. To evaluate a new electrode material for practical use, stability and durability must be considered. Our CCE cathode materials appeared to maintain performance and had improved water management capabilities at low relative humidities. An overview of CCE materials characterization, as well as CCE performance and degradation, will be presented.