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Experimental Investigation of Liquid Water Formation and Transport in a Transparent Single-Serpentine PEM Fuel Cell

[+] Author Affiliations
Dusan Spernjak, Suresh Advani, Ajay K. Prasad

University of Delaware, Newark, DE

Paper No. FUELCELL2006-97271, pp. 453-461; 9 pages
  • ASME 2006 4th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology
  • ASME 2006 Fourth International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology, Parts A and B
  • Irvine, California, USA, June 19–21, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: Nanotechnology Institute
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4247-9 | eISBN: 0-7918-3780-7
  • Copyright © 2006 by ASME


Liquid water formation and transport was investigated by direct experimental visualization in an operational transparent single-serpentine PEM fuel cell. We examined the effectiveness of various gas diffusion layer (GDL) materials in removing water away from the cathode and through the flow field over a range of operating conditions. Complete polarization curves as well as time evolution studies after step changes in current draw were obtained with simultaneous liquid water visualization within the transparent cell. At similar current density (i.e. water production rate), lower level of cathode flow field flooding indicated that liquid water had been trapped inside the GDL pores and catalyst layer, resulting in lower output voltage. No liquid water was observed in the anode flow field unless cathode GDLs had a microporous layer (MPL). MPL on the cathode side creates a pressure barrier for water produced at the catalyst layer. Water is pushed across the membrane to the anode side, resulting in anode flow field flooding close to the H2 exit.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME



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