A reaction analysis for deprotonation of the sulfonic group in a model molecule of perfluorosulfonic acid (PFSA) at low hydration levels was performed. PFSA is usually adopted as a polymer electrolyte membrane in polymer electrolyte fuel cells. In hydration level three, the deprotonation reaction certainly occurs. The deprotonated state produced is more stable than the predeprotonated state by 3.72 kcal/mol. In addition, its activation energy is very low. Although quantitative discussion of this activation energy is difficult considering the computational error, it can be said qualitatively that H+ is abstracted smoothly from the sulfonic group because of a low activation energy. From the results of bond-order analysis, the produced H 3O+ is strongly bound by the SO3- group. Thus, diffusivity of H3O+ would be low. In hydration level four or more, we found a possibility that the diffusivity of H3O+ increases because the hydrogen-bond strength between H3O+ and SO3- is lower or SO 3- cannot bind H3O+ directly by forming an Eigen cation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry