Formation of liquid water pathways in PEM fuel cells: A 3-D pore-scale perspectives

March 06, 2020

Pranay Shrestha (1), ChungHyuk Lee (1), Aimy Bazylak (1), Nan Ge (1), Manojkumar Balakrishnan (1), Kieran Fahy (1)
Journal of The Electrochemical Society, 167, March 2020. DOI: 10.1149/1945-7111/ab7a0b


We investigated the 3-D pore-scale liquid water distribution within the cathode GDL via in operando synchrotron X-ray tomography during low current density fuel cell operation to capture the early appearance of liquid water pathways. We found that the invasion of liquid water into the GDL only partially filled certain GDL pores. Liquid water preferentially flowed along some GDL fibers, which was attributed to the hydrophilic nature of carbon fiber and the presence of pore-scale mixed wettability within the GDLs.

How Our Software Was Used

Dragonfly was used to visualize the liquid water distribution in 3-D

Author Affiliation

(1) Thermofluids for Energy and Advanced Materials Laboratory, Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, Institute for Sustainable Energy, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.