Interfacial Modification and Dispersion of Short Carbon Fiber and the Properties of Composite Papers as Gas Diffusion Layer for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC)

Zhijun Hu, Baojian Liu, Jiang Lin, Guilin Hu, Lijun Wang, Xuejin Zhang

Abstract


Short carbon fibers (SCF) were modified with oxidation and coupling treatment to improve their water-wettability and bonding properties. Four types of dispersants were studied and discussed. Short carbon fibers/plant fiber (PF) composite papers were prepared by papermaking techniques. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and tests to determine zeta potential, absorbance, tensile index, and conductivity were carried out to investigate the modified effect of SCF and the interfacial properties. Modification experimental results showed that the surface grooves were deepened and new superficial grooves were generated by the liquid acid oxidation. The reaction with the silane coupling agent provided higher density and more uniform distribution on the SCF surface than that of organic titanate, and it obviously increased the roughness and the absolute value of zeta potential. After modification, the hydrophilic properties and dispersion in aqueous solutions were improved, the SCFs could form a good mechanical grip with plant fibers, and the conductivity and physical strength of SCF/PF composite papers were enhanced. It was shown that there was obvious adhesive binding at the fiber overlap nodes by the SEM analysis. It was confirmed that the improvement of physical properties of composite paper can be ascribed to the interfacial enhancement.

Keywords


Short carbon fiber; Interfacial modification; Plant fiber; Dispersion; Paper

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