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Effect of gas diffusion layer properties on water distribution across air-cooled, open-cathode polymer electrolyte fuel cells: A combined ex-situ X-ray tomography and in-operando neutron imaging study

Meyer, Q; Ashton, S; Boillat, P; Cochet, M; Engebretsen, E; Finegan, DP; Lu, X; ... Brett, DJL; + view all (2016) Effect of gas diffusion layer properties on water distribution across air-cooled, open-cathode polymer electrolyte fuel cells: A combined ex-situ X-ray tomography and in-operando neutron imaging study. Electrochimica Acta , 211 pp. 478-487. 10.1016/j.electacta.2016.06.068. Green open access

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Abstract

In-operando diagnostic techniques provide a means of understanding the internal workings of fuel cells under normal operating conditions so that improved designs and operating regimes can be identified. Here, an approach is used which combines ex‐situ characterisation of two anode gas diffusion/microporous layers (GDL-A and GDL-B) with X-ray computed tomography (CT) and in-operando analysis using neutron imaging of operating fuel cells. The combination of TGA, SEM and X-ray CT reveals that GDL-A has a thin microporous layer with ∼26% PTFE covering a thick diffusion layer composed of ‘spaghetti’-shaped fibres. GDL-B is covered by two microporous media (29% and 6.6% PTFE) penetrating deep within the linear fibre network. The neutron imaging reveals two pathways for water transport underneath the cooling channel, either diffusing through the cathode GDL to the active channels, or diffusing through the membrane and towards the anode. The behaviour of water in the GDL is directly affected by the anode gas diffusion, PTFE content and porosity.

Type: Article
Title: Effect of gas diffusion layer properties on water distribution across air-cooled, open-cathode polymer electrolyte fuel cells: A combined ex-situ X-ray tomography and in-operando neutron imaging study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.electacta.2016.06.068
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.electacta.2016.06.068
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: Gas diffusion layer, air-cooled open-cathode, X-ray computed tomography, neutron imaging, water management
UCL classification: UCL
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/1506001
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