Fabrication of novel nanomaterials for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells and self-cleaning applications Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Zhang, Lei
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Applied Physical Sciences, Materials Science Graduate Program
  • Materials scientists have embraced nanoscale materials as allowing new degrees of freedom in materials design, as well as producing completely new and enhanced properties compared with conventional materials. However, most nanofabrication methods are tedious and expensive, or require extreme conditions. This thesis presents efficient methods for generating nanostructured materials under relatively mild chemistry and experimental conditions. The basis of most of this work is porous anodic aluminum oxide (p-AAO) membranes, which have hexagonally close-packed pores and were fabricated following a two-step aluminum anodization procedure. Partially removing the barrier layer of a p-AAO membrane enabled the preparation of silver nanorod arrays using a very simple electrodepostition procedure. One dimensional (1-D) alumina nanostructures were also electrochemically synthesized on the surface of a p-AAO membrane by carefully controlling the anodization parameters. Polyacrylonitrile nanofibers containing platinum salt were fabricated by polymerization of acrylonitrile in p-AAO templates. Subsequent pyrolysis resulted in carbon nanofibers wherein the platinum salt is reduced in-situ to elemental Pt. The Pt nanoparticles are dispersed throughout the carbon nanofibers, have a narrow size range, and are single crystals. Rotating disc electrode voltammetry suggests that the dispersion of Pt nanocrystals in the carbon nanofiber matrix should exhibit excellent electrocatalytic activity. The preparation of catalyst ink and the construction of membrane-electrode-assembly need to be optimized to get better performance in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells. Platinum nanoparticles embedded in carbon fibers were also prepared using electrospinning. The prepared platinum nanoparticles are narrowly distributed in size and well dispersed in the carbon matrix. This method can provide a large yield of products with a simple setup and procedure. 2-D arrays of nanopillars made from perfluoropolyether (PFPE) derivatives were fabricated using p-AAO membrane templates. Pretexturing the aluminum prior to anodization enables one to engineer multiple morphological length scales and thereby synthesize a lotus leaf-like topography. Both nanopillars on a flat surface and on a lotus leaflike topology exhibit superhydrophobicity, low contact angle hysteresis and self-cleaning.
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  • In Copyright
  • Samulski, Edward T.
  • Open access

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