Effect of Clamping Load on the Performance and Contact Pressure of PEMFC Stack
In the assembling process of proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) stack, the clamping load is known to have direct effect on the contact pressure of interfaces. Compression on the membrane electrode assembly (MEA) results in change in gas diffusion layer (GDL), porosity and electrical resistance, thus affecting the performance, durability and reliability of the PEMFC stack. In this paper, the relation between clamping load and performance of PEMFC stack was obtained by experimental study, and the influence of clamping load on the contact pressure of MEAs was analyzed by finite element analysis. The performance test rig was established and the approach of polarization curve testing was introduced. Both the effect of magnitude and distribution of the bolt torques on the performance were taken into account. The finite element model was adopted to figure out the magnitude and uniformity of contact pressure of MEAs, which provides a new angle to understand the experimental results.