The main obstacles to greater commercialization of polymer electrolyte fuel cells are mostly related to the low-proton conductivity at low-relative humidity of the known ionomeric membranes, to their high methanol permeability and poor mechanical properties above ∼130°C. A possible solution for these problems has been found in the development of composite membranes, where particles of suitable fillers are dispersed in the ionomer matrix. The preparation methods for obtaining composite membranes are described, and recent work dealing with composite ionomeric membranes containing silica, heteropolyacids, layered metal phosphates, and phosphonates is reviewed. Finally, new strategies for the preparation of nano-composite membranes and for the filling of porous polymeric membranes with highly conductive zirconium phosphonates are described. The expected influence of size and orientation of these particles on membrane properties, such as conductivity and permeability to methanol, is also discussed.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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