DEMS and online mass spectrometry studies of the carbon support corrosion under various polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell operating conditions
Differential electrochemical mass spectrometry as well as online mass spectrometry in combination with singe cell testing has been used to study carbon corrosion of typical carbon materials discussed as support for electro-catalyst in fuel cells, e.g. carbon blacks or carbon nanotubes. Beside standard tests used to study the stability under automotive LT-PEMFC conditions, additional tests were performed to try to test the stability under the operating conditions of high temperature polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (HT-PEMFC). It was shown that under LT-PEMFC conditions a strong catalytic effect of platinum on the carbon corrosion rate is observable. High temperatures in HT-PEMFC do accelerate the corrosion rate. It was further found that corrosion does not only occur at high potentials but also to a minor amount at lower potentials. This low potential corrosion is in particular observed after a prior potential excursion of the electrode indicating that such excursions do not only lead to the direct corrosion of the support but also to the formation of unstable surface groups, which can be removed subsequently. Throughout all tests, CNT exhibited a higher stability than the tested carbon blacks. In single cell testing, the contribution of other carbon materials in particular the MPL was evaluated. It was found that it is present but small compared to the catalyst support itself.