Abstract

The homogeneous of current density distribution is very important for performance and lifetime of proton exchange membrane fuel cell. In this study the current density distribution of a fuel cell with an active area of 108 cm2 has been investigated by using segmented cell technology. The σc is introduced to evaluate the homogeneity of current density and the smaller value of σc represents better homogeneity of current distribution. Under normal conditions, the experimental results show that the current density decreases progressively along the flow field at low cathode stoichiometry. It is also found that the homogeneity of current distribution has a strong correlation with the membrane hydration condition and always performs best at cathode relative humidity of 80% when anode condition keeps constant. The value of σc can be significantly reduced when cathode stoichiometry increases from 1.5 to 2.5, but it changes little when cathode stoichiometry continues to increase. During the cold start process, the evolutions of current density distribution are consistent with the temperature mappings. The form of stabilized heat core in the middle regions and homogeneous current density distribution are necessary for successful cold start. The value of σc also can be used to evaluate that the cold start succeeds or not.

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