Assessing porosity of proton exchange membrane fuel cell gas diffusion layers by scanning electron microscope image analysis

Johnathon Farmer, Binh Duong, Supapan Seraphin, Sirivatch Shimpalee, Michael J. Martínez-Rodríguez, John W. Van Zee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

A gas diffusion layer (GDL) in a proton exchange membrane fuel cell may consist of several, materials of different porosities, with each material serving a specific set of functions. For example, samples analyzed in this work consisted of a macro porous carbon paper substrate treated with a, hydrophobic wet proofing material in differing amounts, which was then coupled to a micro porous, layer. The porosities of four such GDLs were determined by using 2D scanning electron microscope (SEM) images to mathematically model the volumes filled by each solid in the 3D structures. Results, were then compared with mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP) measurements to verify the accuracy, of the method. It was found that the use of SEM not only allowed for detailed porosity analysis of, separate porous materials within the GDL, but also porosity for the entire GDL could be calculated for, the seemingly complex structures with reasonable accuracy. With some basic geometric assumptions, and use of the superposition principle, the calculated results were accurate to less than a 2% absolute, difference of the porosity measured by MIP for each of the four samples analyzed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Volume197
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

Keywords

  • Gas diffusion layer
  • Image analysis
  • Micro porous layer
  • PEM fuel cell
  • Porosity
  • SEM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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