A proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) was imaged using neutron radiography under pseudo steady-state operating conditions to determine the total liquid water content of the cell and the liquid water content distribution across the active cell area as a function of cell temperature, current density, and cathode air flow rate. A simple cathode-based model was formulated to rationalize the observed dry inlet regions which were most strongly influenced by temperature and current density. Between temperatures of 40 and 80°C and current densities of 0.5 and 1.5 A cm-2, the outlet gas temperature was measured to be 1-5°C greater than the cell bulk temperature. This small temperature difference was enough to account for drying of 20-40% of the cell area, depending on the bulk cell temperature. For the cell construction used in this work, the temperature and cathode stoichiometric flow had a marginal effect on the polarization curve performance but had a large effect on the liquid water content and distribution within the cell.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry