The net water transport coefficient through the membrane, defined as the ratio of the net water flux from the anode to cathode to the protonic flux, is used as a quantitative measure of water management in a polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC). In this paper we report on experimental measurements of the net water transport coefficient distribution for the first time. This is accomplished by making simultaneous current and species distribution measurements along the flow channel of an instrumented PEFC via a multi-channel potentiostat and two micro gas chromatographs. The net water transport coefficient profile along the flow channels is then determined by a control-volume analysis under various anode and cathode inlet relative humidity (RH) at 80 °C and 2 atm. It is found that the local current density is dominated by the membrane hydration and that the gas RH has a large effect on water transport through the membrane. Very small or negative water transport coefficients are obtained, indicating strong water back diffusion through the 30 μm Gore-Select® membrane used in this study.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Filtration and Separation