Percolation behavior in catalytic porous material

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Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


Proper water management in Polymer Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell is important to achieve high performance. Understanding the percolation of the produced water at the cathode catalyst layer (CL), is critical for any robust water management technique. The CL consists of a complex structure to allow reactants to pass through and reach the reaction catalyst site. The complex structure is made by a support structure (mostly carbon) that allows the transport of electrons, an ionomer that conducts protons, and voids that have the double role of oxygen breathing and exit paths for the generated water. In this work, a pseudo-Hele–Shaw experimental setup is used to investigate immiscible fluid displacement inside the CL under controlled conditions. Since water can be retained by ionomer, making it swell and caused a shift in the pore size distribution, fluor-inert is used as a working fluid. The evolution of percolation pressure and the projected area of the injected fluid are recorded simultaneously.

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ECS Transactions