Microstructure changes induced by capillary condensation in catalyst layers of PEM fuel cells

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhydene.2010.08.072
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TypeArticle
Journal titleInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Volume35
Issue22
Pages1218212190; # of pages: 9
SubjectPEM fuel cell; Catalyst layer; Microstructure change; Capillary condensation; Pt/C particles
AbstractThis paper proposes a hypothesis for explaining Pt/C particles’ coarsening inside the catalyst layers of a PEM fuel cell. The hypothesis includes the two parts: (1) due to capillary condensation a water-bridge could be formed between two neighboring nano-scale Pt/C particles at relative humidity under 100% when the surfaces of the Pt/C particles are hydrophilic; (2) the capillary force of the water-bridge tends to pull together the Pt/C particles. The relation is derived in this paper between the capillary force and the factors including the diameter of Pt/C particles, relative humidity, temperature, distance between the two neighboring Pt/C particles and water contact angle. A parametric study is performed showing some details about water-bridge formation. Finally, the stress level induced by the capillary force inside the Nafion thin-film connecting with the Pt/C particles is calculated. The result shows that the capillary force could be large enough to break apart the Nafion thin-film, facilitating the movement of Pt/C particles towards each other.
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNRC Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number16910701
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Record identifier24a950c4-69c6-451a-a311-93b8151bf31c
Record created2011-02-25
Record modified2016-05-09
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