Characterization of MEA degradation for an open air cathode PEM fuel cell

R. A. Silva, T. Hashimoto, G. E. Thompson, C. M. Rangel

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    As fuel cell technology matures and time scale to commercialization decreases, the need for a more comprehensive knowledge of materials' aging mechanisms is essential to attain specified lifetime requirements for applications. In this work, the membrane electrode assembly (MEA) degradation of an eight-cell PEM low power stack was evaluated, during and after fuel cell aging in specified testing conditions of load-cycling that may compromise the durability of the catalyst. The stack degradation analysis comprised observation of catalytic layers, morphology and composition. Examination of the MEAs cross sections, in a joint SEM and TEM study, revealed thickness variation of catalytic layer (up to 47% for the cathode layers), and cracking, delamination, and catalyst migration were observed even though catalyst sintering and consequent loss of electrochemical active area seem to be predominant together with F loss from the ionomer used as binder in the catalytic layers. Copyright © 2012, Hydrogen Energy Publications, LLC. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)7299-7308
    Number of pages9
    JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


    • Degradation
    • Hydrogen
    • MEA failure analysis
    • Open cathode
    • PEM fuel cells


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