Isothermal Ice-Crystallization Kinetics in the Gas-Diffusion Layer of a Proton-Exchange-Membrane Fuel Cell
Description: Nucleation and growth of ice in the fibrous gas-diffusion layer (GDL) of a proton-exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) are investigated using isothermal differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). Isothermal crystallization rates and pseudo-steady-state nucleation rates are obtained as a function of subcooling from heat-flow and induction-time measurements. Kinetics of ice nucleation and growth are studied at two polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) loadings (0 and 10 wt %) in a commercial GDL for temperatures between 240 and 273 K. A nonlinear icecrystallization rate expression is developed using Johnson-Mehl-Avrami-Kolmogorov (JMAK) theory, in which the heat-transfer-limited growth rate is determined from the moving-boundary Stefan problem. Induction times follow a Poisson distribution and increase upon addition of PTFE, indicating that nucleation occurs more slowly on a hydrophobic fiber than on a hydrophilic fiber. The determined nucleation rates and induction times follow expected trends from classical nucleation theory. A validated rate expression is now available for predicting icecrystallization kinetics in GDLs.
Date: November 11, 2011
Creator: Dursch, Thomas J.; Ciontea, Monica A.; Radke, Clayton J. & Weber, Adam Z.
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