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Operando Properties of Gas Diffusion Layers: Saturation and Liquid Permeability


Eller, Jens; Roth, Jörg; Marone, Federica; Stampanoni, Marco; Büchi, Felix N (2017). Operando Properties of Gas Diffusion Layers: Saturation and Liquid Permeability. Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 164(2):F115-F126.

Abstract

Polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFC) require a sophisticated water management to operate efficiently, especially at high current densities which are needed to reach system cost targets. The description of the complicated two-phase water transport remains a challenge in PEFC models and requires experimental validation on various length scales. In this work, operando X-ray tomographic microscopy (XTM) with scan times of 10 s was used to depict the liquid water at defined conditions at a technically relevant cell temperature of 80°C. Cells with Toray TGP-H-060 gas diffusion layer (GDL) with microporous layer (MPL) and different rib width were operated with different feed gas humidifications (under- and oversaturated) and current densities between 0.75 to 3.0 A/cm2. Based on the quantification of the local and average saturation, the distribution of water cluster size is analyzed. Different categories of the water cluster connectivity are defined and quantified. The analysis is complemented with numerical simulations of the permeability in the liquid phase of the GDL that is correlated to saturation for the different GDL domains. The numerical simulations of the pressure drop of liquid water flow from the catalyst layer toward the gas channels in channel-rib repetition units allows for conclusions on cluster growth mechanisms.

Abstract

Polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFC) require a sophisticated water management to operate efficiently, especially at high current densities which are needed to reach system cost targets. The description of the complicated two-phase water transport remains a challenge in PEFC models and requires experimental validation on various length scales. In this work, operando X-ray tomographic microscopy (XTM) with scan times of 10 s was used to depict the liquid water at defined conditions at a technically relevant cell temperature of 80°C. Cells with Toray TGP-H-060 gas diffusion layer (GDL) with microporous layer (MPL) and different rib width were operated with different feed gas humidifications (under- and oversaturated) and current densities between 0.75 to 3.0 A/cm2. Based on the quantification of the local and average saturation, the distribution of water cluster size is analyzed. Different categories of the water cluster connectivity are defined and quantified. The analysis is complemented with numerical simulations of the permeability in the liquid phase of the GDL that is correlated to saturation for the different GDL domains. The numerical simulations of the pressure drop of liquid water flow from the catalyst layer toward the gas channels in channel-rib repetition units allows for conclusions on cluster growth mechanisms.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Biomedical Engineering
Dewey Decimal Classification:170 Ethics
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2017
Deposited On:22 Mar 2018 11:02
Last Modified:13 Apr 2018 11:45
Publisher:Electrochemical Society, Inc.
ISSN:0013-4651
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1149/2.0881702jes

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