Applying Infrared Thermography as a Quality-Control Tool for the Rapid Detection of Proton-Electrolyte-Membrane-Fuel-Cell Catalyst-Layer-Thickness Variations

Niccolo V. Aieta, Prodip K. Das, Andrew Perdue, Guido Bender, Andrew M. Herring, Adam Z. Weber, Michael J. Ulsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus Citations

Abstract

As fuel cells become more prominent, new manufacturing and production methods are needed to enable increased volumes with high quality. One necessary component of this industrial growth will be the accurate measurement of the variability of a wide range of material properties during the manufacturing process. In this study, a method to detect defects in fuel cell catalyst layers is investigated through experiment and mathematical simulation. The method uses infrared thermography and direct-current electronic-excitation methods to detect variations in platinum-containing catalyst-layer thickness with high spatial and temporal resolution. Data analysis, operating-condition impacts, and detection limits are explored, showing the measurement of defects on the millimeter length scale. Overall, the experimental and modeling results demonstrate great potential of this technique as a nondestructive method to measure defects that is amenable to use on roll-to-roll manufacturing lines.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)4-11
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Volume211
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2012

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5600-53153

Keywords

  • Catalyst layer
  • Defects
  • Fuel cell
  • Infrared thermography
  • Manufacturing
  • PEMFC
  • Quality control

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