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Investigation of the polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell catalyst layer microstructure

  • Author / Creator
    Dobson, Peter
  • Computer modeling is critical for catalyst layer (CL) design in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells. Water-filled and ionomer-filled agglomerate models have been suggested as representations of the CL microstructure. In this thesis, improved water-filled and ionomer-filled agglomerate models are developed. Results indicate that the agglomerates provide identical current densities at low and high overpotentials, but differ at mid-range values. These models are integrated in a multiscale simulation of a 2D membrane electrode assembly (MEA) model. A comparative analysis shows that the choice of agglomerate alters the reaction distribution in the CL but does not significantly change the model's performance. Lastly, it is proposed that the CL microstructure be characterized by optimization-based parameter estimation, which matches MEA model predictions to experimental data. Results suggest that experimental data is not readily characterized by an agglomerate model; the MEA model requires more detail to describe the phenomena across a range of operating conditions.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2011-11
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3VD0R
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Master's
  • Department
    • Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Secanell, Marc (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Lange, Carlos (Mechanical Engineering)
    • Mitlin, David (Chemical & Materials Engineering)