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Polymers have achieved an enviable position as the class of materials having the highest volume of production, exceeding that of both metals and ceramics. The meteoric rise in the production and utilization of polymers has been due to advances in polymer synthesis which allow the creation of specific and well-defined molecular structures, to new knowledge concerning the relationships between polymer structure and properties, and to an improved understanding of how processing can be used as a tool to develop morphological features which result in desired properties. Polymers have truly become 'engineered materials' in every sense of the term. Polymer scientists and engineers are forever seeking to modify and improve the properties of synthetic polymeric systems for use in specific applications. Towards this end they have often looked to nature for advice on how to design molecules for specific needs. An excellent illustration of this is the use of noncovalent bonding (ionic, hydrogen, and van der Waals) in lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids, where these noncovalent bonds, acting both intra and intermolecularly, precisely control the structure and thus the function of the entire system. The utilization of ionic bonding, in particular in man-made polymers has attracted widespread interest in recent years, since ionic interactions exert a similar strong influence on the structure and properties of these synthetic systems.As one type, ionomer membranes have been found significant applications for solid polymer electrolyte (SPE) fuel cells of various designs (Strasser, 1990; Scherer, 1990; Kordesch, 1990). A diagram of such a cell is shown in Figure 8.5.

Author:M.R. Tant, K.A. Mauritz, G.L. Wilkes
Publisher:Springer Science & Business Media - 1997-01-31


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