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Impact of cyclic mechanical compression on the electrical contact resistance between the gas diffusion layer and the bipolar plate of a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell

: Bouziane, K.; Khetabi, E.M.; Lachat, R.; Zamel, N.; Meyer, Y.; Candusso, D.


Renewable energy 153 (2020), pp.349-361
ISSN: 0960-1481
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ISE ()
Wasserstofftechnologie und elektrischer Energiespeicher; Brennstoffzellensystem; cell; diffusion layer; plate; contact resistance; compression

The electrical contact resistance between the Gas Diffusion Layer (GDL) and the BiPolar Plate (BPP) used in Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel cells (PEMFCs) is responsible for a substantial amount of Ohmic losses in the electrical power generator. This contact resistance was measured for a variety of carbon paper GDLs under cyclic mechanical compression between 0 and 8 MPa according to the Transmission Line Method (TLM). Contact resistance and strain hysteresis were noticed as a result of cyclic compression. The effect of GDL structure and composition on the electrical contact resistance and its cyclic behaviour has been evaluated. The contact resistance was found to decrease non-linearly with compression; more than 75% of reduction was attained at 2.5 MPa. The electrical contact resistance’s difference between the different cycles of compression decreased with compression loads. Graphitised straight fibre Toray GDLs demonstrated the smallest contact resistance followed by the MicroPorous Layer (MPL) and the felt fibre substrate. The SGL straight fibre substrates exhibited the highest contact resistance. The felt fibre structure exhibited the smallest difference rates between the cycles of compression.