(Figure Presented). Visualization inside polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs) for elucidating the reaction distributions is expected to improve the performance, durability, and stability. An oxygen-sensitive film of a luminescent porphyrin was used to visualize the oxygen partial pressures in five straight gas-flow channels of a running PEFC with liquid-water blockages formed at the end of the channels. The blockage greatly lowered and unstabilized the cell voltage. The oxygen partial pressure decreased nearly to 0 kPa in the blocked channel. With a water blockage in a channel, the oxygen partial pressures in the adjacent channels were lowered due to an extra demand of oxygen consumption. When the number of the blocked channels increased, the oxygen partial pressure in the unblocked channels became much lowered. When the water blockages disappeared, the oxygen partial pressures quickly returned to the values before plugging. The influence of the cross flows of air through the gas diffusion layers in straight channels was much smaller than that in serpentine flow channels.
ASJC Scopus subject areas