Heterogeneous pore-scale model analysis of micro-patterned PEMFC cathodes

Morio Tomizawa, Gen Inoue, Keisuke Nagato, Akihisa Tanaka, Kayoung Park, Masayuki Nakao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) are a key feature of future hydrogen-based societies. The surface-patterning method for electrolyte membranes has been proposed as a performance improvement technique for PEMFCs. However, its underlying mechanism remains unclear because of complicated mass transport and chemical reaction phenomena. In this study, the surface patterning of a PEMFC cathode was simulated using a unique simulation method of a heterogeneous pore-scale model. The simulation was validated by a comparison of the calculated results with experimental measurements. The model was subsequently applied to investigate variations in the pattern aspect, Pt loading, and ionomer amount and to conduct an advanced pillar structural analysis. A series of numerical simulations suggested that the performance improvement from surface patterning is based on improved proton conduction through the catalyst layer resulting from shortened paths through a tortuous ionomer. Additionally, surface patterning potentially promotes oxygen diffusion by reducing the amount of ionomer and taking advantage of improved proton conduction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number232507
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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