Nanofibers are able to form a highly porous mesh and their large surface-to-volume ratio improves performance for many applications. Electrospinning has the unique ability to produce nanofibers of different materials in various fibrous assemblies. The relatively high production rate and simplicity of the setup makes electrospinning highly attractive to both academia and industry. A variety of nanofibers can be made for applications in energy storage, healthcare, biotechnology, environmental engineering, and defense and security. The focus of the project is, firstly, on the electrospun nanofibers which can increase the coulombic efficiency of the Li-ion batteries, resolve the corrosion issues of Pt catalysts in the PEM fuel cells, and improve the light scattering effect and electrolyte diffusion in the photoanodes. Secondly, integration of the nanofibers with nanoparticles to produce the nanocomposite with fascinating mechanical, piezoelectric, and light absorption properties. Finally, the optimization of the fabrication process would be performed by imposing the analytical methods on the evaluation tests of the nanocomposites.
Electron Microscopy Characterzation of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells and batteries
The long-term efficiency of proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC) is largely restricted by the instability of catalyst nanoparticles during fuel cell operation. Due to their large surface area-tovolume ratio, Pt and Pt-alloy nanoparticles have a strong tendency to grow in size over short time scales, leading to a reduction in their electrochemically active surface area, and the cell performance after several cycles. It still unclear what is the main degradation mechanism. To address this issue, post-mortem TEM and SEM study is performed to compare the particle size distribution and morphology of the catalyst nanoparticles.