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Research Papers

The Property and Performance Differences Between Catalyst Coated Membrane and Catalyst Coated Diffusion Media

[+] Author and Article Information
Derek W. Fultz

 General Motors Electrochemical Energy Research Laboratory, 10 Carriage Street, Honeoye Falls, NY 14472-1038derek.fultz@gm.com

Po-Ya Abel Chuang

 General Motors Electrochemical Energy Research Laboratory, 10 Carriage Street, Honeoye Falls, NY 14472-1038

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 8(4), 041010 (Mar 31, 2011) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4003632 History: Received April 07, 2010; Revised November 23, 2010; Published March 31, 2011; Online March 31, 2011

Two fuel cell architectures, differing only by the surfaces onto which the electrodes were applied, have been analyzed to determine the root causes of dissimilarities in performance. The basic proton exchange membrane fuel cell is comprised of the proton transporting membrane, platinum-containing anode and cathode electrodes, porous carbon fiber gas diffusion media (GDM), and flow fields that deliver the reactant hydrogen and air flows. As no optimal cell design currently exists, there is a degree of latitude regarding component assembly and structure. Catalyst coated diffusion media (CCDM) refers to a cell architecture option where the electrode layers are coated on the GDM layers and then hot pressed to the membrane. Catalyst coated membrane (CCM) refers to an architecture where the electrodes are transferred directly onto the membrane. A cell with CCDM architecture has tightly bonded interfaces throughout the assembly, which can result in lower thermal and electrical contact resistances. Considering the fuel cell as a 1D thermal system, the through-plane thermal resistance was observed to decrease by 5–10% when comparing CCDM to CCM architectures. This suggests that the thermal contact resistance at the electrode interfaces was significantly reduced in the hot-press process. In addition, the electrical contact resistances between the electrode and GDM were observed to be significantly reduced with a CCDM architecture. This study shows that these effects, which have a potential to increase performance, can be attributed to the hot-press lamination process and use of CCDM architecture.

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Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Cross-sectional view of cylindrical thermal analyzer test section

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Figure 2

Cell architecture using CCM where the MPL side of the GDM is placed against the electrode layer

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Figure 3

Cell architecture using CCDM where the electrode is hot pressed to the membrane after being coated onto the GDM

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Figure 4

Thermal resistance for three cell architecture options (including all components shown in Figs.  23 and interfacial contact resistances). Error bars are min/max for four tests at each condition.

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Figure 5

HFR of sample B under wet operating conditions for CCM and CCDM architectures (2.00 anode/1.80–5.00 cathode stoic, 100–160 kPaabs cathode exit pressure, 110% cathode exit RH, and 52–72°C coolant exit temperature)

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Figure 9

H2/air stack performance of sample B under dry operating conditions for CCM and CCDM architectures (1.5 anode/1.80–5.00 cathode stoic, 100–160 kPaabs cathode exit pressure, 35–65% cathode exit RH, and 72–80°C coolant exit temperature)

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Figure 8

HFR of sample B under dry operating conditions for CCM and CCDM architectures (1.5 anode/1.80–5.00 cathode stoic, 100–160 kPaabs cathode exit pressure, 35–65% cathode exit RH, and 72–80°C coolant exit temperature)

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Figure 7

Oxygen transport resistance at dry operating conditions (80°C, 64–80% RH) for GDM sample type B. Error bars are min/max for three tests at each condition.

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Figure 6

H2/air stack performance of sample B under wet operating conditions for CCM and CCDM architectures (2.00 anode/1.80–5.00 cathode stoic, 100–160 kPaabs cathode exit pressure, 110% cathode exit RH, and 52–72°C coolant exit temperature)

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