Reactive Impinging-Flow Technique for Polymer-Electrolyte-Fuel-Cell Electrode-Defect Detection

Guido Bender, Michael Ulsh, Iryna Zenyuk, Nicholas Englund, Adam Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus Citations


Reactive impinging flow (RIF) is a novel quality-control method for defect detection (i.e., reduction in Pt catalyst loading) in gas-diffusion electrodes (GDEs) on weblines. The technique uses infrared thermography to detect temperature of a nonflammable (<4% H2) reactive mixture of H2/O2 in N2 impinging and reacting on a Pt catalytic surface. In this paper, different GDE size defects (with catalyst-loading reductions of 25, 50, and 100%) are detected at various webline speeds (3.048 and 9.144 m min−1) and gas flowrates (32.5 or 50 standard L min−1). Furthermore, a model is developed and validated for the technique, and it is subsequently used to optimize operating conditions and explore the applicability of the technique to a range of defects. The model suggests that increased detection can be achieved by recting more of the impinging H2, which can be accomplished by placing blocking substrates on the top, bottom, or both of the GDE; placing a substrate on both results in a factor of four increase in the temperature differential, which is needed for smaller defect detection. Overall, the RIF technique is shown to be a promising route for in-line, high-speed, large-area detection of GDE defects on moving weblines.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)372-382
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Power Sources
StatePublished - 15 Nov 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-67301


  • Defect detection
  • Polymer-electrolyte fuel-cells
  • Quality control
  • Reactive impinging flow


Dive into the research topics of 'Reactive Impinging-Flow Technique for Polymer-Electrolyte-Fuel-Cell Electrode-Defect Detection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this