Compressive Creep of Polymer Electrolyte Membranes: A Case Study for Electrolyzers
For proton-exchange membrane (PEM) water electrolyzers to be commercially feasible, PEMs must perform over long lifetimes in liquid environments under compression while maintaining mechanical stability. A hydrated environment, while inherent for operation and conductivity, undermines PEM stability. Mechanical stability of PEMs is commonly characterized in tension, which is not applicable to electrolyzers, wherein PEMs could undergo high pressures. In this study, a compression creep procedure is developed using a custom-designed setup to monitor creep response of hydrated PEMs. Our results show that PEMs exhibit continuous creep response under compression over 24 h, with a dependence on the applied pressure and hydration state.