Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) Fuel Cells convert hydrogen into water by causing electrochemical reaction with oxygen, producing an electric current which can be used to power electric motors. This is seen as a viable alternative to the Internal Combustion Engine which operates on fossil fuels and is often blamed for contribution to the global climate change. Due to the low temperature operation, compared to other forms of fuel cells, it is possible to adapt the PEM Fuel Cell for automotive application. By running on hydrogen, the PEM Fuel Cell promises to enable a clean mode of transport. Water vapor transport inside the fuel cell takes place by two primary mechanisms: diffusion and permeability. Diffusion is important in the through-plane direction, whereas permeability is most important in the in-plane direction. Some work has been done to measure the permeability; it has been correlated with the porosity. However, the work has focused on the permeability at room temperature for ease of measurement. The PEM fuel cell works most efficiently between 60⁰C and 95⁰C. In this work, we direct our efforts at verifying whether there is any change in permeability in the in-plane direction with change of temperature. The in-plane permeability has been measured at 25⁰C, 40⁰C, 60⁰C and 80⁰C. The work has also obtained qualitative changes in permeability with the introduction of a Microporous Layer and impregnation of PTFE onto the Gas Diffusion Layer.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Proton exchange membrane fuel cells--Mechanical properties; Proton exchange membrane fuel cells--Thermal properties; Fluid-structure interaction

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Mechanical Engineering (KGCOE)


Kandlikar, Satish


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: TK2933.P76 B36 2011


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