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Research Papers

Through-Plane Permeability for Untreated and PTFE-Treated Gas Diffusion Layers in Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells

[+] Author and Article Information
M. S. Ismail1

Centre for Computational Fluid Dynamics, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UKpmmsai@leeds.ac.uk

T. Damjanovic

 SGL Technologies GmbH, Meitingen 86405, Germany

K. Hughes, D. B. Ingham, L. Ma, M. Pourkashanian, M. Rosli

Centre for Computational Fluid Dynamics, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK

1

Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 7(5), 051016 (Jul 20, 2010) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4000685 History: Received July 17, 2009; Revised August 01, 2009; Published July 20, 2010; Online July 20, 2010

The through-plane permeability has been experimentally measured for untreated and polytetrafluoroethylene-treated (PTFE-treated) gas diffusion layers (GDLs), as used in proton exchange membrane fuel cells. Contrary to what the literature has previously shown, the results suggest that there exists an optimum value for the wet-proofing agent, PTFE, at which the though-plane permeability of the GDL is a maximum. The analysis that is undertaken to investigate the effect of the air compressibility shows that there is an underestimation in the through-plane permeability of the tested GDLs by of the order of 9% if the density of the air is assumed to be constant. Also, a nondimensionalisation analysis shows that ignoring the non-Darcy effects at the maximum reported flow rates result in negligible errors for the untreated and treated GDLs.

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Figure 1

A schematic diagram of the experimental setup

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Figure 2

Experimental data for the pressure drop as a function of the air flux for the tested carbon substrates

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Figure 3

SEM micrographs for (a) SGL 10AA, (b) SGL 10BA, (c) SGL 10CA, (d) SGL 10DA, (e) SGL 10EA, (f) EP 40, and (g) EP 40T carbon substrates

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