Chemical Engineering & Technology, Vol.34, No.3, 439-444, 2011
Analysis and Optimization of Operating Parameters of a Membrane-Electrode Assembly
Hot-pressing conditions for fabricating a membrane-electrode assembly (MEA) were optimized. The key parameters were time, temperature, and pressure, varying from 1 to 5 min, 100 to 170 degrees C, and 21 to 93 kg cm(-2), respectively. The MEAs were fabricated with 50 cm(2) active electrode area and their performance was investigated using a fuel cell test station. The most suitable hot-pressing time for MEA was 3 min, the optimized pressure and temperature for MEA fabrication were 21 kg.cm(-2) and 130 degrees C with 1.6 A and 0.56 V. At 100 degrees C, the current and voltage of the produced MEAs were low due to the trapped liquid formed inside the electrode. However, at more than 150 degrees C, the obstructed/distorted polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) will block the pores inside the gas diffusion layer (GDL) and cause a loss of performance of the fuel cell. Physical properties of the GDL were observed using scanning electron microsopy (SEM). The GDL exhibited a uniform pore distribution after application of hot-pressing.