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Sensors 2012, 12(1), 768-783; doi:10.3390/s120100768

Local Area Water Removal Analysis of a Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell under Gas Purge Conditions

* ,
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Yuan Ze Fuel Cell Center, Yuan Ze University, Taoyuan 320, Taiwan
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 December 2011 / Revised: 24 December 2011 / Accepted: 4 January 2012 / Published: 11 January 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultra-Small Sensor Systems and Components)
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In this study, local area water content distribution under various gas purging conditions are experimentally analyzed for the first time. The local high frequency resistance (HFR) is measured using novel micro sensors. The results reveal that the liquid water removal rate in a membrane electrode assembly (MEA) is non-uniform. In the under-the-channel area, the removal of liquid water is governed by both convective and diffusive flux of the through-plane drying. Thus, almost all of the liquid water is removed within 30 s of purging with gas. However, liquid water that is stored in the under-the-rib area is not easy to remove during 1 min of gas purging. Therefore, the re-hydration of the membrane by internal diffusive flux is faster than that in the under-the-channel area. Consequently, local fuel starvation and membrane degradation can degrade the performance of a fuel cell that is started from cold.
Keywords: gas purge; fuel cell; high frequency resistance; micro sensor gas purge; fuel cell; high frequency resistance; micro sensor
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Lee, C.-Y.; Lee, Y.-M.; Lee, S.-J. Local Area Water Removal Analysis of a Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell under Gas Purge Conditions. Sensors 2012, 12, 768-783.

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