The mass diffusion overpotential distribution in a free-breathing proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) was determined from current distribution measurements using a flow pulse approach. The current distribution measurements were conducted with a segmented flow-field plate. Flow pulses were fed to the cathode channels to form a uniform oxygen concentration distribution along the channels. Simultaneously, the cell resistance was monitored using the current interruption method. From the experimental data, the mass diffusion overpotential distribution was calculated using the Tafel equation. The results show that the mass diffusion overpotential in different parts of the cell may vary considerably, for example, at 180 mA cm(-2) the mass diffusion overpotential difference between the bottom and top part of the cell was 0.1 V.
- current distribution
- free-breathing cathode
- mass diffusion overpotential distribution
- resistance distribution