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Observing liquid water build-up in proton exchange membrane fuel cells using terahertz imaging and high-resolution optical gauging

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Abstract

The performance and durability of proton exchange membrane fuel cells are closely linked to effective water management strategies. Inadequate water balance results in polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) dehydration or water flooding, both leading to performance loss and possible cell failure. Exploiting the contrast from liquid water absorption and transparency of dielectric materials, such as polymers, at terahertz (THz) frequencies, we apply a simple, compact THz imaging system to image water build-up in the flow channels of a THz-transparent fuel cell supported by high resolution optical gauging.

Bibliographic note

Funding Information: The authors acknowledge the EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account EP/R511560/1. HL also acknowledges the financial support from the EPSRC Research Grant EP/R019460/1. The authors also acknowledge Mr Karl Cooper and Mr David Dare for assistance in the electrochemical characterisation of the PEMFC. Publisher Copyright: © 2020 IEEE. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.