Patterned Membranes for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells Working at Low Humidity

Oliver Fernihough, Holly Cheshire, Jean-Michel Romano, Ahmed Ibrahim, Ahmad El-Kharouf, Shangfeng Du

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High performing proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) that can operate at low relative humidity is a continuing technical challenge for PEMFC developers. In this work, micro-patterned membranes are demonstrated at the cathode side by solution casting techniques using stainless steel moulds with laser-imposed periodic surface structures (LIPSS). Three types of patterns, lotus, lines, and sharklet, are investigated for their influence on the PEMFC power performance at varying humidity conditions. The experimental results show that the cathode electrolyte pattern, in all cases, enhances the fuel cell power performance at 100% relative humidity (RH). However, only the sharklet pattern exhibits a significant improvement at 25% RH, where a peak power density of 450 mW cm is recorded compared with 150 mW cm of the conventional flat membrane. The improvements are explored based on high-frequency resistance, electrochemically active surface area (ECSA), and hydrogen crossover by in situ membrane electrode assembly (MEA) testing.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1976
Number of pages13
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2021


  • Proton exchange membrane
  • Catalyst layer
  • inteface
  • patterned membrane


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