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Investigation of Gas Diffusion Layer Properties Using X-Ray Microtomography

[+] Author Affiliations
Sadegh Hasanpour, Andre Phillion, Mina Hoorfar

The University of British Columbia, Kelowna, BC, Canada

Paper No. FUELCELL2015-49085, pp. V001T04A001; 5 pages
  • ASME 2015 13th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology collocated with the ASME 2015 Power Conference, the ASME 2015 9th International Conference on Energy Sustainability, and the ASME 2015 Nuclear Forum
  • ASME 2015 13th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology
  • San Diego, California, USA, June 28–July 2, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: Advanced Energy Systems Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5661-1
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME


An essential part of proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) is the gas diffusion layer (GDL), which provides pathways for by-products to be removed from PEMFCs. One of the main properties of GDLs is porosity. The two widely used experimental methods for finding the porosity of GDLs are mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP) and method of standard porosimetry (MSP). In addition to these methods, the porosity of GDLs can be calculated based on the high resolution 3D images that are acquired using X-ray microtomography (μXCT) as shown in recent studies (e.g., [7,12]). Despite the general success of using μXCT to measure GDL porosity, different porosity values have been reported for similar GDLs.

These variations are due to different assumptions made for determining the surface of the sample, and hence, its external dimensions. In this research, current methods used for calculating porosity of GDLs from μXCT images are discussed, and a new surface identification method based on a rolling ball algorithm is introduced. The main advantage of this new method is that variations in surface topology or roughness are taken into account when calculating porosity. The new method is not only applicable to GDLs, but can be applied to characterize a wide range of highly porous media.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME



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