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Research Papers

Time-Resolved Water Measurement in a PEM Fuel Cell Using High-Resolution Neutron Imaging Technique

[+] Author and Article Information
P. Quan1

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202pquan@wayne.edu

M.-C. Lai

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202

D. S. Hussey, D. L. Jacobson

 National Institute of Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Drive, M.S. 8461, Gaithersburg, MD 20899

A. Kumar, S. Hirano

 Ford Motor Company, 1201 Village Road, Dearborn, MI 48121

Certain trade names and company products are mentioned in the text or identified in an illustration in order to adequately specify the experimental procedure and equipment used. In no case does such identification imply recommendation or endorsement by NIST, nor does it imply that the products are necessarily the best available for this purpose.

1

Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 7(5), 051009 (Jul 16, 2010) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4001017 History: Received June 13, 2009; Revised October 29, 2009; Published July 16, 2010; Online July 16, 2010

The dynamic process of water transport along the through-plane direction in the membrane electrode assembly of a proton exchange membrane fuel cell was investigated using the high-resolution neutron imaging. Four different membrane/gas diffusion layer or membrane/gas diffusion electrode assemblies were tested by measuring the through-plane water thickness profiles. The results indicate that proper design and assembly of the test fixture are critical for accurate water measurement; the accumulation speed of liquid water inside an assembly varies with time; the ionomer in catalyst layers could facilitate water management in the membrane; the time constants for wetting and drying processes are functions of gas diffusion layer thickness, inlet flow rate, and gas dew point; and the time constant for the wetting process is about 1.4 times longer than the corresponding drying process.

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Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

(a) Experimental setup and (b) exploded view of the test fixture

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Figure 2

Definition of water thickness used in the neutron imaging study

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Figure 3

Evolution of water thickness profile in the through-plane direction for case No. 1

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Figure 4

Evolution of water thickness profile in the through-plane direction for case No. 2

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Figure 5

Evolution of water thickness profile in the through-plane direction for case No. 3

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Figure 6

Evolution of water thickness profile in the through-plane direction for case No. 4: (a) wetting with flow rate of 100 SCCM, (b) drying with flow rate of 500 SCCM, and (c) wetting with flow rate of 500 SCCM

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Figure 7

Dynamic total water content within selected image area of membrane: (a) wetting processes of assemblies with different GDL materials, and (b) wetting-drying processes of LT2500

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