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Modeling Proton Transport in Hydrophobic Polymeric Electrolytes

M. Andrews[1]
[1]Caribbean Industrial Research Institute, Calibration Laboratory, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago

The Polymer Electrolyte Membrane fuel cell is one of the most promising green technologies for addressing portable, as well as transportation power needs. However, the science behind the fuel cell, in many regards, is still an enigma, and even more so, with the vast numbers of novel materials created annually; designed to offset issues related to durability, conductivity, cost- effectiveness and manufacturability of fuel cell components. This research demonstrates a computational model in COMSOL, that predicts the rate of proton transport in hydrophobic polymer electrolytes - given the physical properties of the polymer typically involved in protonic transport. This type of model, provides its user with a systematic approach for optimizing the physical structure of novel poly-electrolytes, towards improved, ionic conduction.