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A comparison of felt-type and paper-type gas diffusion layers for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell applications using X-ray techniques

[+] Author and Article Information
Rupak Banerjee

Thermofluids for Energy and Advanced Materials (TEAM) Laboratory, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto Institute for Sustainable Energy, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto Ontario, Canada
rupak.banerjee@utoronto.ca

Stéphane Chevalier

Thermofluids for Energy and Advanced Materials (TEAM) Laboratory, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto Institute for Sustainable Energy, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto Ontario, Canada
stephane.chevalier@univ-nantes.fr

Hang Liu

Thermofluids for Energy and Advanced Materials (TEAM) Laboratory, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto Institute for Sustainable Energy, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto Ontario, Canada
hitliuhang@gmail.com

Jongmin Lee

Thermofluids for Energy and Advanced Materials (TEAM) Laboratory, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto Institute for Sustainable Energy, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto Ontario, Canada
jongmin.lee@utoronto.ca

Ronnie Yip

Thermofluids for Energy and Advanced Materials (TEAM) Laboratory, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto Institute for Sustainable Energy, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto Ontar
ronnie.yip@gmail.com

Kookil Han

Fuel Cell R&D Group, Eco Technology Center, Research & Development Division, Hyundai Motor Company, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do, 16891, Republic of Korea
k.han@hyundai.com

Bo Ki Hong

Fuel Cell Research Lab., Eco Technology Center, Research & Development Division, Hyundai Motor Company, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do, 16891, Republic of Korea
boki.hong@hyundai.com

Aimy Bazylak

Thermofluids for Energy and Advanced Materials (TEAM) Laboratory, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto Institute for Sustainable Energy, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto Ontario, Canada; Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, University of Toronto, 5 King's College Road Toronto, ON M5S 3G8
abazylak@mie.utoronto.ca

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4037766 History: Received July 01, 2017; Revised August 19, 2017

Abstract

This work presents a comparison between carbon felt-type and paper-type gas diffusion layers (GDLs) for polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells in terms of the similarities and differences between their microstructures and the corresponding way in which liquid water accumulated within the microstructures during operation. X-ray computed tomography was used to investigate the microstructure of single layered GDLs (without a microporous layer (MPL)) and bi-layered GDLs (with an MPL). In-operando synchrotron X-ray radiography was used to visualize the GDL liquid water accumulation during fuel cell operation as a function of current density. The felt-type GDLs studied here exhibited a more uniform porosity in their core region, and the carbon fibers in the substrate facilitated a more facile intrusion by the MPL and catalyst layer. More liquid water accumulated in the felt-type GDLs during fuel cell operation; however, when differentiating between the microstructural impact of felt and paper GDLs, the presence of an MPL in bi-layered GDLs was the most influential factor in liquid water management.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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