Direct measurement of lateral current density distribution in a PEM fuel cell with a serpentine flow field

Shan Jia, Hongtan Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

In a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell, local current density can vary drastically in the lateral direction across the land and channel areas. It is essential to know the lateral current density variations in order to optimize flow field design and fuel cell performance. Thus the objective of this work is to directly measure the lateral current density variations in a PEM fuel cell with a serpentine flow field. Five 1 mm-width partially-catalyzed membrane electrode assemblies (MEA), each corresponding to a different location from the center of the gas channel to the center of the land area are used in the experiments. Current densities for fuel cells with each of the partially-catalyzed MEAs are measured and the results provide the lateral current density distribution. The measurement results show that in the high cell voltage region, local current density is the highest under the center of the land area and decreases toward the center of the channel area; while in the low cell voltage region local current density is the highest under the center of the channel area and decreases toward the center of the land area. Besides, the effects of cathode flow rates on the lateral current density distribution have also been studied. Furthermore, comparisons have also been made by using air and oxygen in the cathode and it is found that when oxygen is used the local current density under the land is significantly enhanced, especially in the low cell voltage region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1449-1456
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Volume39
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 16 2014

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Keywords

  • Lateral current density distribution
  • Partially-catalyzed MEA
  • PEM fuel cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology

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