Experimental Study of Thermal Conductivity and Compression Measurements of the GDL-MPL Interfacial Composite Region
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Original versionECS Transactions. 2016, 75 (14), 189-199. 10.1149/07514.0189ecst
MPL and GDL in a PEM fuel cell assembly are often treated as separate layers in the literature. However, there exists a considerable interfacial region where the two different materials merge. The MPL consists of fine carbon particles, a binder and a solvent that is applied on top of the fibrous GDL. In the process of coating, the MPL intrudes into the GDL and forms an MPL-GDL-composite region. This region has properties that differ from either of the materials that it consists of. Through-plane thermal conductivity and thickness variation under different compaction pressures were measured for such a composite region of commercial gas diffusion layer (GDL), Freudenberg H1410, and custom-made MPL. Thermal conductivity at 9.2 bar compaction pressure for GDL only is 0.111 ± 0.009 W K-1 m-1, for MPL only 0.08 ± 0.02 W K-1 m-1, and for the composite region is 0.124 ± 0.005 W K-1 m-1. X-Ray Computed Tomography images of the materials ascertain the level of penetration for the MPL into the GDL.