Distribution measurements in an operating polymer electrolyte fuel cell

M. M. Mench, Q. L. Dong, Chao-yang Wang

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract

The water balance between the flow channels, gas diffusion layer, and electrolyte membrane is a critical phenomenon affecting polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) performance. This paper presents data on the in situ water distribution within the gas channel of an operating PEFC. Following careful calibration and instrumentation, a gas chromatograph (GC) was interfaced directly to the fuel cell at various locations along the serpentine anode and cathode flow paths of a specially designed fuel cell. The 50 cm 2 active area instrumented fuel cell also permits simultaneous current distribution measurements via the segmented collector plate approach. The on-line GC method allows discrete measurements of the water vapor content of the flow about every two minutes. Water distribution data are shown at several inlet relative humidities and cell operating voltages. For the thin electrolyte membranes used (51 μm), there is little functional dependence of anode gas channel water distribution on current output. For thin membranes, this indicates that there is little gradient in the water activity between anode and cathode, for the conditions tested (i < 1 A/cm 2).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages183-197
Number of pages15
StatePublished - Dec 13 2005
EventProton Conducting Membrane Fuel Cells III - Proceedings of the International Symposium - Salt Lake City, UT, United States
Duration: Oct 21 2002Oct 23 2002

Other

OtherProton Conducting Membrane Fuel Cells III - Proceedings of the International Symposium
CountryUnited States
CitySalt Lake City, UT
Period10/21/0210/23/02

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)

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