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Use of X-ray Computed Tomography for Understanding Localised, Along-the-Channel Degradation of Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells

Hack, J; Rasha, L; Cullen, PL; Bailey, JJ; Neville, TP; Shearing, PR; Brandon, NP; (2020) Use of X-ray Computed Tomography for Understanding Localised, Along-the-Channel Degradation of Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells. Electrochimica Acta , Article 136464. 10.1016/j.electacta.2020.136464. (In press).

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Abstract

The need to understand the effects of degradation in polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs) has led to the development of in-situ and operando imaging studies of failure mechanisms occurring in their constituent materials, but studies using X-ray computed tomography (X-ray CT) for imaging have focussed primarily on a single region of the PEFC flow channel. Whilst studies have shown local variation in degradation rates using electrochemical techniques, this work employs identical-location X-ray CT imaging to elucidate the local degradation of a membrane electrode assembly (MEA) at various locations along-the-channel of a serpentine flow field. Using a carbon corrosion specific accelerated stress test (AST), in-depth analyses of the catalyst layers (CLs) and crack network allow for quantification of the material’s degradation at the inlet, middle and outlet regions of the flow channel on the cathode side. Imaging of the regions was done after 0, 2000 and 5000 cycles and results show significant regional variation in the extent of degradation of the cathode CL. The order of degradation was found to be outlet > middle > inlet, with the outlet CL found to be thinner than the middle and inlet regions, with a greater extent of cracking. Furthermore, additional land and channel degradation effects were probed, with the land regions found to be less degraded than channel regions. This work further highlights the need to understand and develop ASTs that can promote a more uniform degradation rate across an MEA.

Type: Article
Title: Use of X-ray Computed Tomography for Understanding Localised, Along-the-Channel Degradation of Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells
DOI: 10.1016/j.electacta.2020.136464
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.electacta.2020.136464
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Membrane electrode assembly, X-ray computed tomography, local degradation, polymer electrolyte fuel cell, accelerated stress test, carbon corrosion
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Chemical Engineering
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Electronic and Electrical Eng
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10098507
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