Effect of gas diffusion layer properties on water distribution across air-cooled, open-cathode polymer electrolyte fuel cells: A combined ex-situ X-ray tomography and in-operando neutron imaging study

Q. Meyer, S. Ashton, P. Boillat, M. Cochet, E. Engebretsen, D.P. Finegan, X. Lu, J.J. Bailey, N. Mansor, R. Abdulaziz, O.O. Taiwo, R. Jervis, S. Torija, P. Benson, S. Foster, P. Adcock, P.R. Shearing, D.J.L. Brett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In-operando diagnostic techniques provide a means of understanding the internal workings of fuel cells under normal operating conditions so that improved designs and operating regimes can be identified. Here, an approach is used which combines ex‐situ characterisation of two anode gas diffusion/microporous layers (GDL-A and GDL-B) with X-ray computed tomography (CT) and in-operando analysis using neutron imaging of operating fuel cells. The combination of TGA, SEM and X-ray CT reveals that GDL-A has a thin microporous layer with ∼26% PTFE covering a thick diffusion layer composed of ‘spaghetti’-shaped fibres. GDL-B is covered by two microporous media (29% and 6.6% PTFE) penetrating deep within the linear fibre network. The neutron imaging reveals two pathways for water transport underneath the cooling channel, either diffusing through the cathode GDL to the active channels, or diffusing through the membrane and towards the anode. The behaviour of water in the GDL is directly affected by the anode gas diffusion, PTFE content and porosity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)478-487
Number of pages10
JournalElectrochimica Acta
Volume211
Early online date15 Jun 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Gas diffusion layer
  • Air-cooled
  • Open-Cathode
  • X-ray computed tomography
  • Neutron Imaging
  • Water Management

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