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Efficiency of fuel cells

Research Achievements

Efficiency of fuel cells

The efficiency of a fuel cell depends on its ability to transport both Protons (H+) and electrons. We have assembled an experimental system for use inside a scanning electron microscope which, in addition to the usual ability to image at high resolution and to perform chemical microanalysis using fluorescent X-rays, allows us to make four-point conductivity measurements on the membrane with a spatial resolution of a few micrometers. We also have installed nano-manipulators equipped with force sensors which can measure the adhesion between, for example, catalyst particles and the membrane. These combined facilities permit us to characterize all the key physical aspects of the membrane in one instrument in the presence of the liquid layer. We are now prepared to measure and to plot the magnitude of the in-plane conductivity of the membrane at the micrometer level. This work involves Materials Science Engineering (Joy), and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (Keffer and Zawodzinski).