Water management improvement in PEM fuel cells via addition of PDMS or APTES polymers to the catalyst layer


TURKISH JOURNAL OF CHEMISTRY, vol.44, no.5, pp.1227-1243, 2020 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 44 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.3906/kim-2002-49
  • Page Numbers: pp.1227-1243


Water management is one of the obstacles in the development and commercialization of proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEW:Cs). Sufficient humidification of the membrane directly affects the PEM fuel cell performance. Therefore, 2 different hydrophobic polymers, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and (3-Aminopropyl) triethoxysilane (APTES), were tested at different percentages (5, 10, and 20 wt.%) in the catalyst layer. The solution was loaded onto the surface of a 25 BC gas diffusion layer (GDIL) via the spraying method. The performance of the obtained fuel cells was compared with the performance of the commercial catalyst. Characterizations of each surface, including different amounts of PDMS and APTES, were performed via scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) analyses. Molecular bond characterization was examined via Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis and surface hydrophobicity was measured via contact angle measurements. The performance of the fuel cells was evaluated at the PEM fuel cell test station and the 2 hydrophobic polymers were compared. Surfaces containing APTES were found to be snore hydrophobic. Fuel cells with PDMS performed better when compared to those with APTES. Fuel cells with 5wt.% APTES with a current density of 321.31 mA/cm(2) and power density of 0.191 W/cm(2), and 10wt.% PDMS with a current density of 344.52 mA/cm(2) and power density of 0.205 W/cm(2) were the best performing fuel cells at 0.6V.