We have conducted combined time-resolved attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) and proton conductivity measurements of Nafion NRE211 membrane during hydration/dehydration cycles at room temperature. Conductivity change was interpreted in terms of different states of water in the membrane based on its δ(HOH) vibrational spectra. It was found that hydration of a dry membrane leads first to complete dissociation of the sulfonic acid groups to liberate hydrated protons, which are isolated from each other and have δ(HOH) vibrational frequency around 1740 cm-1. The initial hydration is not accompanied by a significant increase of the proton conductivity. Further hydration gives rise to a rapid increase of the conductivity in proportion to intensity of a new δ(HOH) band around 1630 cm-1. This was interpreted in terms of formation of channels of weakly hydrogen-bonded water to combine the isolated hydrophilic domains containing hydrated protons and hydrated sulfonate ions produced during the initial stage of hydration. Upon dehydration, proton conductivity drops first very rapidly due to loss of the weakly hydrogen bonded water from the channels to leave hydrophilic domains isolated in the membrane. Dehydration of the protons proceeds very slowly after significant loss of the proton conductivity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry