Superhydrophobic PAN nanofibers for gas diffusion layers of proton exchange membrane fuel cells for cathodic water management
Uddin, M. Nazim
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Salahuddin, Mohammad; Uddin, M. Nazim; Hwang, Gisuk; Asmatulu, Ramazan. 2018. Superhydrophobic PAN nanofibers for gas diffusion layers of proton exchange membrane fuel cells for cathodic water management. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, vol. 43:no. 25:pp 11530-11538
Proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells are considered to be promising alternatives to natural resources for generating electricity and various other powers. Optimal water management in the gas diffusion layer (GDL) is critical to the high performance of fuel cells. The basic function of the GDL includes transporting the reactant gas from flow channels to the catalyst effectively, draining liquid water from the catalyst layer to the flow channels, and conducting electrons with low humidity. In this study, poly-acrylonitrile (PAN) was dissolved in a solvent and electrospun at various conditions to produce PAN nanofibers prior to their stabilization at atmospheric pressure at 280 degrees C for 1 h and carbonization at 850 degrees C for one more hour. The surface hydrophobicity of the carbonized PAN nanofibers were adjusted using superhydrophobic and hydrophilic agents. The thermal, mechanical, and electrical properties of the new GDLs showed better results than the conventional ones. Water condensation tests (superhydrophobic and hydrophilic) on the surfaces of the GDLs showed a crucial step towards improved water management in fuel cells. This study may open up new possibilities for developing high-performing GDL materials for future PEM fuel cell applications.
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