Effect of deformation on electrical properties of carbon fibers used in gas diffusion layer of proton exchange membrane fuel cells

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In proton exchange membrane fuel cells, the stacks of anode, cathode, and membrane layers including gas diffusion layer (GDL) are held together by a compressive force applied through a bipolar plate. In this work, we studied the electrical properties of a carbon fiber of a GDL under deformation using four-point measurement methods inside a scanning electron microscope (SEM). We found out that through bending deformation the electrical resistivity of carbon fibers will be reduced. The drop in resistance during deformation may be the result of increasing conduction channels in the carbon fiber and parallel transport through them. Our finding offers a new insight on the effect of deformation on tuning the electrical properties of GDL materials. © 2009 Elsevier B.V.

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Journal of Power Sources