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An Analytical Model of the Membrane Electrode Assembly in a PEMFC

[+] Author Affiliations
S. Litster, N. Djilali

University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada

Paper No. FUELCELL2005-74174, pp. 739-747; 9 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


An analytical model of the membrane electrode assembly (MEA) in a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEM) has been developed for investigating the effect of catalyst layer specifications. Emphasis is placed on the cathode catalyst layer, which is modeled using a finite-thickness formulation with parameters obtained from a variable-width macrohomogeneous model. The variable-width formulation accounts for the effect of changing catalyst layer specifications on the dimensions of the catalyst layer by assuming a constant void fraction. Interest in low-humidity operation of micro-fuel cells that are passively fed ambient air has facilitated the present derivations and assumptions. The model is shown to agree well with experimental data over a substantial range of catalyst layer specifications. In addition, the model shows excellent promise as a tool for optimizing catalyst layers in micro-fuel cells with passive ambient air breathing.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME



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