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Plasma sterilisation

A further important component of a fuel cell is the porous gas diffusion layer (GDL). A GDL provides a homogeneous gas flow to the catalyst and should control the water content of the cell. Especially the water management in a wide range of the voltage/current polarization curves of the fuel cell is very important for the fuel cell efficiency. However, the GDLs mostly consist of a strong hydrophobic material which is critical for a proper water management. A partial hydrophilic GDL is the better choice, because a certain amount of water can be retained in the cell. This can be achieved with a treatment of the GDL in for example a N2-plasma.
The fuel cell with the plasma treated GDL shows significantly higher cell voltages than the reference fuel cell without a plasma treated GDL. This is due to the fact that the membrane runs dry, especially at higher current densities. When using a plasma treated GDL a certain amount of water can be retained in the cell leading to a better fuel cell performance.

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Name: Dr.-Ing. Andreas Schulz