Rapid Detection of Defects in Fuel-Cell Electrodes using Infrared Reactive-Flow-Through Technique

Prodip K. Das, Adam Z. Weber, Guido Bender, Austin Manak, Daniel Bittinat, Andrew M. Herring, Michael Ulsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus Citations


As fuel cells become more prominent, new manufacturing and production methods will need to be developed to deal efficiently and effectively with increased demand. One necessary component of this industrial growth is the accurate measurement of the variability in the manufacturing process. In this study, we present a diagnostic system that combines infrared thermography with a reactive-flow-through technique to detect catalyst-loading defects in fuel-cell gas-diffusion electrodes accurately with high spatial and temporal resolutions. Experimental results are compared with model predictions of thermal response with good agreement. Data analysis, operating-condition impacts, and detection limits are explored using both experiments and simulation. Overall, the results demonstrate the potential of this technique to measure defects on the millimeter length scale with temporal resolutions appropriate for use on a web-line. Thus we present the first development stage of a next-generation non-destructive diagnostic tool, which may be amenable to eventual use on roll-to-roll manufacturing lines.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)401-411
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Power Sources
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2014

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-61028


  • Catalyst layer
  • Defect detection
  • Fuel cells
  • Infrared thermography
  • Manufacturing


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