The Impact of Wettability on Effective Properties of Cathode Catalyst Layer in a Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Department of Mehcanical Engineering, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran

2 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran

3 Department of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands


The produced liquid water in cathode catalyst layer (CCL) has significant effect on the operation of proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). To investigate this effect, the transport of oxygen in CCL in the presence of immiscible liquid water is studied applying a two-dimensional pore scale model. The CCL was reconstructed as an agglomerated system. To explore the wettability effects, different contact angles were considered at the surface of agglomerates. The effective diffusivity of oxygen was calculated under different contact angles at various saturation levels. The same effective diffusivity was obtained for hydrophilic and hydrophobic domains at lower saturations, however, at saturation above 0.4, hydrophobic domain provided higher effective diffusivity values. The effect of water coverage at reaction surface areas was investigated. The results showed that, at the saturation of 0.4, the hydrophobic domain with the contact angle of 150 has about 2 times more available surface area, due to different distribution of water phase compared to the hydrophilic domain with the contact angle of 20.


Main Subjects

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