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Multi-layer configuration for the cathode electrode of polymer electrolyte fuel cell


This paper conducts a one-dimensional theoretical study on the electrochemical phenomenon in the dual-layer cathode electrode of polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs) with varying sub-layer thicknesses, and further extends the analysis to a triple-layer configuration. We obtain the explicit solution for a general dual-layer configuration with different layer thicknesses. Distributions of the key quantities such as the local reaction current and electrolyte overpotential are exhibited at different ratios of the ionic conductivities, electrochemical kinetics, and layer thicknesses. Based on the dual-layer approach, we further derive the explicit solutions for a triple-layer electrode. Sub-layer performances are plotted and compared. The results indicate that the layer adjacent to the electrolyte membrane may contribute a major part of the electrode faradic current production. The theoretical analysis presented in this paper can be applied to assist electrode development through complicated multi-layer configuration for cost-effective high performance electrodes. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

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