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Title: Reactive impinging-flow technique for polymer-electrolyte-fuel-cell electrode-defect detection

Abstract

Reactive impinging flow (RIF) is a novel quality-control method for defect detection (i.e., reduction in Pt catalyst loading) in gas-diffusion electrodes (GDEs) on weblines. The technique uses infrared thermography to detect temperature of a nonflammable (<4% H 2) reactive mixture of H 2/O 2 in N 2 impinging and reacting on a Pt catalytic surface. In this article, different GDE size defects (with catalyst-loading reductions of 25, 50, and 100%) are detected at various webline speeds (3.048 and 9.144 m min -1) and gas flowrates (32.5 or 50 standard L min -1). Furthermore, a model is developed and validated for the technique, and it is subsequently used to optimize operating conditions and explore the applicability of the technique to a range of defects. The model suggests that increased detection can be achieved by recting more of the impinging H 2, which can be accomplished by placing blocking substrates on the top, bottom, or both of the GDE; placing a substrate on both results in a factor of four increase in the temperature differential, which is needed for smaller defect detection. Lastly, overall, the RIF technique is shown to be a promising route for in-line, high-speed, large-area detection of GDE defectsmore » on moving weblines.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [3]; ORCiD logo [2];  [3]
  1. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States); Tufts Univ., Medford, MA (United States). Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
  2. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  3. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States); Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Fuel Cell Technologies Office (EE-3F)
OSTI Identifier:
1329463
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1397381; OSTI ID: 1440944
Report Number(s):
NREL/JA-5900-67301
Journal ID: ISSN 0378-7753
Grant/Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308; AC02-05CH11231; AC36-08-GO28308
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Power Sources
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 332; Journal ID: ISSN 0378-7753
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
30 DIRECT ENERGY CONVERSION; polymer-electrolyte fuel-cells; reactive impinging flow; quality control; defect detection

Citation Formats

Zenyuk, Iryna V., Englund, Nicholas, Bender, Guido, Weber, Adam Z., and Ulsh, Michael. Reactive impinging-flow technique for polymer-electrolyte-fuel-cell electrode-defect detection. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1016/j.jpowsour.2016.09.109.
Zenyuk, Iryna V., Englund, Nicholas, Bender, Guido, Weber, Adam Z., & Ulsh, Michael. Reactive impinging-flow technique for polymer-electrolyte-fuel-cell electrode-defect detection. United States. doi:10.1016/j.jpowsour.2016.09.109.
Zenyuk, Iryna V., Englund, Nicholas, Bender, Guido, Weber, Adam Z., and Ulsh, Michael. Thu . "Reactive impinging-flow technique for polymer-electrolyte-fuel-cell electrode-defect detection". United States. doi:10.1016/j.jpowsour.2016.09.109. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1329463.
@article{osti_1329463,
title = {Reactive impinging-flow technique for polymer-electrolyte-fuel-cell electrode-defect detection},
author = {Zenyuk, Iryna V. and Englund, Nicholas and Bender, Guido and Weber, Adam Z. and Ulsh, Michael},
abstractNote = {Reactive impinging flow (RIF) is a novel quality-control method for defect detection (i.e., reduction in Pt catalyst loading) in gas-diffusion electrodes (GDEs) on weblines. The technique uses infrared thermography to detect temperature of a nonflammable (<4% H2) reactive mixture of H2/O2 in N2 impinging and reacting on a Pt catalytic surface. In this article, different GDE size defects (with catalyst-loading reductions of 25, 50, and 100%) are detected at various webline speeds (3.048 and 9.144 m min-1) and gas flowrates (32.5 or 50 standard L min-1). Furthermore, a model is developed and validated for the technique, and it is subsequently used to optimize operating conditions and explore the applicability of the technique to a range of defects. The model suggests that increased detection can be achieved by recting more of the impinging H2, which can be accomplished by placing blocking substrates on the top, bottom, or both of the GDE; placing a substrate on both results in a factor of four increase in the temperature differential, which is needed for smaller defect detection. Lastly, overall, the RIF technique is shown to be a promising route for in-line, high-speed, large-area detection of GDE defects on moving weblines.},
doi = {10.1016/j.jpowsour.2016.09.109},
journal = {Journal of Power Sources},
number = ,
volume = 332,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu Sep 29 00:00:00 EDT 2016},
month = {Thu Sep 29 00:00:00 EDT 2016}
}

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  • Reactive impinging flow (RIF) is a novel quality-control method for defect detection (i.e., reduction in Pt catalyst loading) in gas-diffusion electrodes (GDEs) on weblines. The technique uses infrared thermography to detect temperature of a nonflammable ( < 4% H 2 ) reactive mixture of H 2 /O 2 in N 2 impinging and reacting on a Pt catalytic surface. In this paper, different GDE size defects (with catalyst-loading reductions of 25, 50, and 100%) are detected at various webline speeds (3.048 and 9.144 m min -1 ) and gas flowrates (32.5 or 50 standard L min -1 ). Furthermore, amore » model is developed and validated for the technique, and it is subsequently used to optimize operating conditions and explore the applicability of the technique to a range of defects. The model suggests that increased detection can be achieved by recting more of the impinging H 2 , which can be accomplished by placing blocking substrates on the top, bottom, or both of the GDE; placing a substrate on both results in a factor of four increase in the temperature differential, which is needed for smaller defect detection. Overall, the RIF technique is shown to be a promising route for in-line, high-speed, large-area detection of GDE defects on moving weblines.« less
  • Water-content profiles across the membrane electrode assembly of a polymer-electrolyte fuel cell were measured using high-resolution neutron imaging and compared to mathematical-modeling predictions. It was found that the membrane held considerably more water than the other membrane-electrode constituents (catalyst layers, microporous layers, and macroporous gas-diffusion layers) at low temperatures, 40 and 60 C. The water content in the membrane and the assembly decreased drastically at 80 C where vapor transport and a heat-pipe effect began to dominate the water removal from the membrane-electrode assembly. In the regimes where vapor transport was significant, the through-plane water-content profile skewed towards the cathode.more » Similar trends were observed as the relative humidity of the inlet gases was lowered. This combined experimental and modeling approach has been beneficial in rationalizing the results of each and given insight into future directions for new experimental work and refinements to currently available models.« less
  • In order to understand the origin of performance variations in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs), a series of membrane-electrode assemblies (MEAs) with identical electrode layer compositions were prepared using different electrode curing conditions, their performances were evaluated, and their morphologies determined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The polarization curves varied markedly primarily due to differences in morphologies of electrodes, which were dictated by the curing processes. The highest performing MEAs (1.46 W cm{sup -2} peak power density at 3.2 A cm{sup -2} and 80 C) were prepared using a slow curing process at a lower temperature, whereas those MEAsmore » prepared using a faster curing process performed poorly (0.1948 W cm{sup -2} peak power density at 440 mA cm{sup -2} and 80 C). The slowly cured MEAs showed uniform electrode catalyst and ionomer distributions, as revealed in SEM images and elemental maps. The relatively faster cured materials exhibited uneven distribution of ionomer with significant catalyst clustering. Collectively, these results indicate that to achieve optimal performance, factors that affect the dynamics of the curing process, such as rate of solvent evaporation, must be carefully controlled to avoid solvent trapping, minimize catalyst coagulation, and promote even distribution of ionomer.« less