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Proton-conducting membranes of organic–inorganic (sulfonated poly (ether ether ketone)/phosphated zirconia nanoparticles) composite were prepared by incorporating various ratios of phosphated zirconia nanoparticles (ZP) in sulfonated poly (ether ether ketone) (SPEEK). SPEEK/ZP showed an improvement of properties compared with those of the parent SPEEK membrane. Key amongst these is increased proton conductivity to 0.02Scm–1, reduced water uptake to 22 % and reduced methanol permeability to 1.13 × 10–7 cm2 s–1. The methanol permeability was decreased by 28 % compared with SPEEK membrane. It was decreased by one order of magnitude compared with commercial Nafion® 117 (1.39 × 10–6 cm2 s–1).
KEYWORDS: Composite membrane, phosphated zirconia, proton conductivity, SPEEK; methanol permeability, direct methanol fuel cell.