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Electrochemical impedance study on estimating the mass transport resistance in the polymer electrolyte fuel cell cathode catalyst layer

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journal contribution
posted on 20.08.2014, 10:19 by Samuel Cruz-Manzo, Rui ChenRui Chen
In this study the mass transport resistance in the cathode catalyst layer (CCL) of a polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) is estimated using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) measurements. Experimental impedance measurements were carried out in a 6 cm2 PEFC operated with two different relative humidity (RH) values in the cathode and different partial pressures of oxygen in He/O2 and N2/O2 gas mixtures. A mathematical model predicting the CCL impedance response, derived in the authors’ previous study, is applied to EIS measurements to calculate the CCL mass transport resistance. The experimental results show the presence of an overlapped second semicircle at low frequencies which is attributed to an increase in the time constant to diffuse oxygen through the CCL when the PEFC is operated at low oxygen partial pressures, p(O2) 6 20%, in He/O2 or N2/O2 gas mixtures. The results also show that oxygen diluted with nitrogen can reduce the steady state oxygen concentration in the CCL-gas diffusion layer (GDL) interface and can increase CCL mass transport resistance. It is possible, as such, to harness capabilities from both modelling and real-world EIS data in a complementary manner.


The authors thank the Mexican National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT) for the sponsorship of the Ph.D research study of S. Cruz-Manzo (Grant No. 183195).



  • Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering


  • Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering

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45 - 48 (4)


CRUZ-MANZO, S. and CHEN, R., 2013. Electrochemical impedance study on estimating the mass transport resistance in the polymer electrolyte fuel cell cathode catalyst layer. Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, 702, pp.45-48.


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