Superhydrophobic PAN nanofibers for gas diffusion layers of proton exchange membrane fuel cells
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Mohammad Salahuddin ; Gisuk Hwang ; Ramazan Asmatulu; Superhydrophobic PAN nanofibers for gas diffusion layers of proton exchange membrane fuel cells . Proc. SPIE 9802, Nanosensors, Biosensors, and Info-Tech Sensors and Systems 2016, 98021U (April 16, 2016)
Proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells are considered to be the promising alternatives of natural resources for generating electricity and power. An optimal water management in the gas diffusion layers (GDL) is critical to high fuel cell performance. Its basic functions include transportation of the reactant gas from flow channels to catalyst effectively, draining out the liquid water from catalyst layer to flow channels, and conducting electrons with low humidity. In this study, polyacrylonitrile (PAN) was dissolved in a solvent and electrospun at various conditions to produce PAN nanofibers prior to the stabilization at 280 C-circle for 1 hour in the atmospheric pressure and carbonization at 850 C-circle for 1 hour. The surface hydrophobicity values of the carbonized PAN nanofibers were adjusted using superhydrophobic and hydrophilic agents. The thermal, mechanical, and electrical properties of the new GDLs depicted much better results compared to the conventionally used ones. The water condensation tests on the surfaces (superhydrophobic and hydrophilic) of the GDL showed a crucial step towards improved water managements in the fuel cell. This study may open up new possibilities for developing high-performing GDL materials for future PEM fuel cell applications.
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