Electrochimica Acta, Vol.306, 454-465, 2019
Pore-scale study of reactive transport processes in catalyst layer agglomerates of proton exchange membrane fuel cells
Porous structures of agglomerates in cathode catalyst layers (CLs) of proton exchange membrane fuel cells are reconstructed, in which all the four phases are resolved including Platinum, carbon, ionomer and pore. A pore-scale reactive transport model based on the lattice Boltzmann method is developed, in which oxygen dissolution reaction at pore-ionomer interface, oxygen diffusion inside ionomer, and electrochemical reaction at ionomer-Pt interface are considered. Emphasis is put on structural parameters, especially Pt/C mass ratio, on the reactive transport process and the volumetric reaction rate (or current density). Pore-scale results show that while under high Pt loading oxygen is depleted quite close to the surface of the spherical agglomerate, it has to penetrate deep into the porous agglomerate before it is completely consumed under low Pt loading which is not captured by classical agglomerate model based on homogeneous mixture assumption. Pore-scale results also found that effects of transport inside the agglomerate decreases as reaction rate, porosity or ionomer thickness increases. Finally, local transport resistance inside the agglomerate is evaluated, and it increases as the agglomerate size increases or the dissolution reaction rate decreases. (c) 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.