Increasing the performance of gas diffusion layer by insertion of small hydrophilic layer in proton-exchange membrane fuel cells

E. Shakerinejad, M. H. Kayhani, M. Nazari, A. Tamayol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The present study applied Lattice Boltzmann method (LBM) for examining the transport of liquid water in a GDL carbonic paper of polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells. The stochastic method is used for GDL carbonic paper reconstruction. In order to study the behavior of liquid water, different simulations are carried out on the reconstructed GDL. While removing from the GDL of a PEM fuel cell, the dynamics of liquid water is simulated by LBM in this study. The effects that the wettability of GDL imposes on the removal process and liquid water distribution are investigated. In addition, the dynamic behaviors and the saturation process of the liquid water in GDL in a steady state and a transient mode are also explored. The effects of surface wettability on the effective clusters in GDL, merging of different clusters and the loops developed by the fingers are investigated. Moreover, the effects of mixed wettability on the liquid water dynamic behavior and liquid water saturation within the GDL are studied in detail. The results show that the best location for insertion of the hydrophilic layer inside the GDL is near the GDL-GC interface. In this case, the time required for liquid water to reach the GDL/GC interface is reduced about 17% than purely hydrophobic GDL. A decrease of 18.7% in the steady-state saturation level is also observed by insertion of hydrophilic layer; therefore, use of hydrophilic layer near GDL-GC interface is more effective than increasing the contact angle of GDL-fibers. Different validation studies are also reported to show the accuracy of the model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2410-2428
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
StatePublished - Jan 25 2018


  • Gas diffusion layer (GDL)
  • Performance
  • Water saturation
  • Wettability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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