Description: Measurements of PEM fuel cell device performance were made with different gas inlet temperatures and relative humidity using a newly-designed test fixture. Significant improvement in device performance was observed when the fuel inlet temperature was increased above the operating temperature of the cell. These measurements were then correlated to a model to describe energy and mass transport processes. Proton exchange membrane (PEM), fuel cells--the focus of this study--use an ion conducting polymer, especially polyperfluorosulfonic acid materials. These polymer materials, when imbibed with water, exhibit solution-like properties, but because the anions are chemically bound to the polymeric structure, the electrolyte is contained. Importantly, product water removal is simplified, as electrolyte dilution is not a concern. However, the proton transport rate is a function of the polymer geometry, which is set, in part, by the polymer water content. Consequently, dynamics of water flow are essential to understand the design of efficient conversion devices.
Date: May 1, 1995
Creator: Grot, S.A.; Hedstrom, J.C. & Vanderborgh, N.E.
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