This study presents an analysis of water permeation of a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)-coated gas diffusion layer (GDL) to determine the influence of hydrophobic treatment on the GDL for diagnosis of water flooding. It is found that the behaviour of water drainage is controlled by the pore configuration instead of the hydrophobicity in GDL. Better water drainage is achieved by the action of the Teflon coating in modulating the GDL pore configuration to give both a larger average pore size and a wider distribution of pore size. The results show that water penetration through the GDL must overcome a threshold surface tension defined by the largest pore range. A 30 wt.% PTFE coating of a GDL is shown to generate a satisfactory pore configuration, explaining the improved cell polarization performance with a lower driven pressure (∼1.91 kPa) and a higher rate of water drainage.
- Gas diffusion layer
- Proton exchange membrane fuel cells
- Water flooding
- Water permeation