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Title: Electrochemical investigation of stainless steel corrosion in a proton exchange membrane electrolyzer cell

The lack of a fundamental understanding of the corrosion mechanisms in the electrochemical environments of proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzer and/or fuel cells (ECs/FCs) has seriously hindered the improvement of performance and efficiency of PEM ECs/FCs. In this study, a stainless steel mesh was purposely used as an anode gas diffusion layer that was intentionally operated with high positive potentials under harsh oxidative environments in a PEMEC to study the corrosion mechanism of metal migration. A significant amount of iron and nickel cations were determined to transport through the anode catalyst layer, the PEM and the cathode catalyst layer during the PEMEC operation. The formation/deposition of iron oxide and nickel oxide on the carbon paper gas diffusion layer at the cathode side is first revealed by both scanning electron microscope and X-ray diffraction. The results indicate the corrosion elements of iron and nickel are transported from anode to cathode through the catalyst-coated membrane, and deposited on carbon fibers as oxides. This phenomenon could also open a new corrosion-based processing approach to potentially fabricate multifunctional oxide structures on carbon fiber devices. This study has demonstrated a new accelerated test method for investigating the corrosion and durability of metallic materials as well.
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  1. Univ. of Tennessee Space Inst. (UTSI), Tullahoma, TN (United States). Nanodynamics and High-Efficiency Lab for Propulsion and Power, Department of Mechanical, Aerospace & Biomedical Engineering
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
FE0011585; EE0000276; AC05-00OR22725
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
International Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 40; Journal Issue: 36; Journal ID: ISSN 0360-3199
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Fuels, Engines and Emissions Research Center (FEERC); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). National Transportation Research Center (NTRC)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Fuel Cell Technologies Office (EE-3F)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; 08 HYDROGEN; Corrosion; Membrane electrode assembly; Proton exchange membrane electrolyzer/fuel cells; Gas diffusion layer; X-ray diffraction; Iron transport and deposition
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1247879