Failure Analysis of Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells
A qualitative FMEA study of Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell (PEFC) technology is established and presented in the current work through a literature survey of mechanisms that govern performance degradation and failure. The literature findings are translated into Fault Tree (FT) diagrams that depict how basic events can develop into performance degradation or failure in the context of the following top events; (1) activation losses; (2) mass transportation losses; (3) Ohmic losses; (4) efficiency losses and (5) catastrophic cell failure. Twenty-two identified faults and forty-seven frequent causes are translated into fifty-two basic events and a system of FTs with twenty-one reoccurring dominant mechanisms. The four most dominant mechanisms discussed that currently curtail sustained fuel cell performance relate to membrane durability, liquid water formation, flow-field design, and manufacturing practices.