Effective Electrode Edge Protection for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Drive Cycle Operation

Min Wang, Michael Ulsh, Guido Bender, Grace Rome, Adam Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus Citations


Drive cycle (DC) tests employ rapid load cycling which will result in rapidly changing local operating conditions and consequently high non-uniform mechanical stress at the electrode perimeter. In order to better investigate the impact of electrode irregularities on the long-term behavior of the cell, it is necessary to exclude the edge effects of the membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) as a failure mode. Therefore, an effective electrode edge protection technique using thin protective gaskets and a hot-pressing procedure was developed which dramatically prolonged lifetime. Open circuit voltage (OCV), air polarization curve, and hydrogen crossover limiting current density were monitored during the DC tests. For post-DC ex-situ analysis, an in-house developed pinhole detection apparatus (1) was employed to analyze quantity, size, and location of the failure points of MEAs with and without edge protection. Non-protected MEAs typically developed tears at the electrode perimeter, while the longer-lasting protected MEAs exhibited seemingly random pinhole development.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)351-359
Number of pages9
JournalECS Transactions
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2019
EventSymposium on Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells and Electrolyzers 19, PEFC and E 2019 - 236th ECS Meeting - Atlanta, United States
Duration: 13 Oct 201917 Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Electrochemical Society.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-74427


  • fuel cell
  • manufacturing
  • MEA
  • membrane electrode assembly
  • performance
  • R2R
  • roll to roll


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