Liquid water transport in polymer electrolyte fuel cells with multi-layer diffusion media

Ugur Pasaogullari, Chao Yang Wang, Ken S. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


A two-phase, multi-component, full cell model is developed in order to analyze the two-phase transport in polymer electrolyte fuel cells with multi-layer cathode gas diffusion media, consisting of a coarse gas diffusion layer (GDL) (average pore size ∼10 μm) and a micro-porous layer (MPL) (average pore size ∼0.2-2 μm). The relevant structural properties of MPL, including average pore size, wettability, thickness and porosity are examined and their effects on liquid water transport are discussed. It is found that MPL promotes back-flow of liquid water across the membrane towards the anode, consequently alleviating cathode flooding. Furthermore, it is seen that unique porous and wetting characteristics of MPL causes a discontinuity in the liquid saturation at MPL-GDL interface, which in turn reduces the amount of liquid water in cathode catalyst layer-gas diffusion medium interface in some cases. Our analyses show that the back-flow of liquid water increases with the increasing thickness and decreasing pore size, hydrophobicity and bulk porosity of the MPL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberIMECE2004-59283
Pages (from-to)307-315
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers, Heat Transfer Division, (Publication) HTD
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2004
Event2004 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE - Anaheim, CA, United States
Duration: Nov 13 2004Nov 19 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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