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The Nature of Flooding and Drying in Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells

[+] Author Affiliations
P. A. Chuang, A. Turhan, A. K. Heller, J. S. Brenizer, M. M. Mench

Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

T. A. Trabold

General Motors Corporation, Honeoye Falls, NY

Paper No. FUELCELL2005-74051, pp. 31-37; 7 pages
  • ASME 2005 3rd International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology
  • 3rd International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology
  • Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA, May 23–25, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: Nanotechnology Institute
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3764-5 | eISBN: 0-7918-3757-2
  • Copyright © 2005 by ASME


Two different 50 cm2 fuel cells operated at high current density (1.3A/cm2 –1.5A/cm2 ) were visualized using neutron imaging, and the liquid water content in the flow channels and diffusion media under the lands and channels was calculated and compared. At high current density with fully humidified inlet flow, a direct comparison between flooded and non-flooded conditions was achieved by increasing the fuel cell temperature over a small range, until voltage loss from flooding was alleviated. Results indicate that a surprisingly small mass of liquid water is responsible for a significant voltage loss. The deleterious effects of flooding are therefore more easily explained with a locally segregated flooded pore model, rather than a homogeneously flooded pore and blockage phenomenon. Anode dryout was similarly observed and quantified, and results indicate that an exceedingly small mass of water is responsible for significant voltage loss, which is consistent with expectations. The results presented help to form a more complete vision of the flooding loss and anode dryout phenomena in PEFCs.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME



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