Flooding of the cathode due to water accumulation is one of the biggest limiting factors in the performance of polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs). This study therefore attempts to solve this issue by fabricating gas diffusion layers (GDLs) with differently patterned hydrophobic regions. The GDLs in three different patterns (triangular, diamond, and inverted-triangular) were prepared by brushing a Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) solution onto commercial carbon papers through a mask and tested in PEFCs. The patterned GDLs results in superior performance in all cases compared to a uniformly PTFE-treated GDL. Notably, the oxygen transport resistance is significantly reduced, indicating that the water accumulation in the cathode is avoided. This is attributed to the patterned hydrophobicity gradient providing distinct pathways for water and oxygen. The GDL with triangular patterning displays the highest peak power density, due to the fact that the untreated less hydrophobic region is in direct contact with the cathode outlet in this case, facilitating the removal of excess liquid water. Overall, the study confirms that the GDLs with patterned hydrophobicity could be used to enhance the performance of commercial PEFC systems by facilitating water management, potentially leading to improved efficiency and durability.

Full Text
Published version (Free)

Talk to us

Join us for a 30 min session where you can share your feedback and ask us any queries you have

Schedule a call