Stresses in Proton Exchange Membranes Due to Hydration-Dehydration Cycles

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology


Durabilityof the proton exchange membranes (PEM) is a major technicalbarrier to the economic viability of stationary and transportation applicationsof PEM fuel cells. In order to reach Department ofEnergy objectives for automotive PEM fuel cells, a design lifetimeof 5,000 hours over a wide temperature range is required.Reaching these lifetimes is an extremely challenging technical problem. Thoughgood progress has been made in recent years, there arestill issues that need to be addressed to assure successful,economically viable, long-term operation of PEM fuel cells. The lifetime is limited due to gradual degradation of both the electro-chemica land hygro-thermo-mechanical properties of the membranes. Eventually the system failsdue to a critical reduction of the voltage or mechanica ldamage. However, the hygro-thermo-mechanical loading of the membranes and howthis effects the lifetime of the fuel cell is not understood. The long-term objective of the research is to establish a fundamental understanding of the mechanical processes in degradation and how they influence the lifetime of PEMs. In this paper,we discuss the finite element models developed to investigate the in-situ stresses in polymer membranes.


ASME 2005 3rd International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology (FUELCELL2005) May 23–25, 2005 , Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA

Sponsor: Nanotechnology Institute