Scanning force microscopy (SFM) phase imaging provides a powerful method for directly studying and comparing phase segregation in fuel cell membrane materials due to different preparation and under different temperature and humidity exposures. In this work, we explored two parameters that can influence phase segregation: the properties of the solvents used in casting membrane films and how these solvents alter phase segregation after exposure to boiling water as a function of time. SFM was used under ambient conditions to image phase segregation in Nafion samples prepared using five different solvents. Samples were then subjected to water vapor maintained at 100°C for periods ranging from 30 minutes to three hours and re-imaged using the same phase imaging conditions. SFM shows what appears to be an increase in phase segregation as a function of solvent polarity that changes as a function of water exposure.
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