Performance losses due to flooding of gas diffusion layers (GDLs) and flow fields as well as membrane dehydration are two of the major problems in PEFC. In this investigation, the effect of GDL on the cell water management in PEFC is studied using segmented and single cell experiments. The behaviour of four different commercial GDLs was investigated at both high and low inlet humidity conditions by galvanostatic fuel cell experiments. The influence of varying reactant humidity and gas composition was studied. The results at high inlet humidity show that none of the studied GDLs are significantly flooded on the anode side. On the other hand, when some of the GDLs are used on the cathode side they are flooded, leading to increased mass transfer losses. The results at low inlet humidity conditions show that the characteristics of the GDL influence the membrane hydration. It is also shown that inlet humidity on the anode side has a major effect on flooding at the cathode.
- Gas diffusion layer
- Membrane hydration
- Polymer electrolyte fuel cell
- Water management