Effects of Copper Corrosion in the Performance of Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells

Tuesday, 3 October 2017
Prince George's Exhibit Hall D/E (Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center)
N. A. B. Johnson, S. K. Das, and A. K. Sen (Indian Institute of Technology Madras)
Copper Plates are widely used as the current collectors in Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) Fuel cells. With exposure to the atmosphere, copper oxidizes and causes bright copper surfaces to tarnish. This corrosion results in decreasing the current produced. This paper aims to examine the effects of copper corrosion in the performance of PEM Fuel cell. The experiments were conducted on a single PEM Fuel cell with working area of 25cm2 without external cell heating. The feed velocities of hydrogen and oxygen were fixed at 0.5 and 0.75 L min-1, respectively. To bring out the effect of corrosion, a set of copper plates were kept open to atmosphere in the temperature range of 30 – 40oC for 2 months. Then the corroded copper plates were used as current collectors in the PEM Fuel Cell and the performance was monitored. It was observed that ohmic losses increased drastically and the maximum voltage drop was 0.4V.