npsm 새물리 New Physics : Sae Mulli

pISSN 0374-4914 eISSN 2289-0041


Research Paper

New Phys.: Sae Mulli 2018; 68: 1173-1182

Published online November 30, 2018

Copyright © New Physics: Sae Mulli.

Surface Charge and Morphological Characterization of Mesoporous Cellular Foam Silica/Nafion Composite Membrane by Using EFM

Osung KWON*

Tabula Rasa College, Keimyung University, Daegu 42601, Korea


Received: September 14, 2018; Revised: October 8, 2018; Accepted: October 8, 2018

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Mesoporous silica allows proper hydration of an ion exchange membrane under low relative humidity due to its strong hydrophilicity and structural characteristic. A mesoporous silica and Nafion composite membrane shows good proton conductivity under low relative humidity. An understanding of ion-channel formation and proton transfer through an ion-channel network in mesoporous silica and Nafion composite membranes is essential for the development and the optimization of ion exchange membranes. In this study, a mesoporous cellular foam SiO$_2$/Nafion composite membrane is fabricated, and its proton conductivity and performance are measured. Also, the ion-channel distribution is analyzed by using electrostatic force microscopy to measure the surface charge density of the mesoporous cellular foam SiO$_2$/Nafion composite membrane. The research reveals a few remarkable results. First, the composite membrane shows excellent proton conductivity and performance under low relative humidity. Second, the composite membrane is observed to form ion-channel-rich and ion-channel-poor region locally.

Keywords: SiO$_2$/Nafion composite membrane, Mesoporous cellular foam SiO$_2$, Electrostatic force microscopy, PEM fuel cell

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