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Capillarity, Wettability and Interfacial Dynamics in Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells

[+] Author Affiliations
Partha P. Mukherjee

Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM

Paper No. ICNMM2009-82144, pp. 1337-1342; 6 pages
  • ASME 2009 7th International Conference on Nanochannels, Microchannels, and Minichannels
  • ASME 2009 7th International Conference on Nanochannels, Microchannels and Minichannels
  • Pohang, South Korea, June 22–24, 2009
  • Conference Sponsors: Nanotechnology Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4349-9 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3850-1
  • Copyright © 2009 by ASME


In the present scenario of a global initiative toward a sustainable energy future, the polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) has emerged as one of the most promising alternative energy conversion devices for different applications. Despite tremendous progress in recent years, a pivotal performance/durability limitation in the PEFC arises from liquid water transport, perceived as the Holy Grail in PEFC operation. The porous catalyst layer (CL), fibrous gas diffusion layer (GDL) and flow channels play a crucial role in the overall PEFC performance due to the transport limitation in the presence of liquid water and flooding phenomena. Although significant research, both theoretical and experimental, has been performed, there is serious paucity of fundamental understanding regarding the underlying structure-transport-performance interplay in the PEFC. The inherent complex morphologies, micro-scale transport physics involving coupled multiphase, multicomponent, electrochemically reactive phenomena and interfacial interactions in the constituent components pose a formidable challenge. In this paper, the impact of capillary transport, wetting characteristics and interfacial dynamics on liquid water transport is presented based on a comprehensive mesoscopic modeling framework with the objective to gain insight into the underlying electrodics, two-phase dynamics and the intricate structure-transport-interface interactions in the PEFC.

Copyright © 2009 by ASME



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