"Ignition/extinction" phenomena and steady-state multiplicity were discovered in an autohumidification polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell. At steady state, the water produced by the fuel cell reaction is balanced by water removal by the flowing reactant gas streams. Ignition, corresponding to a high fuel cell current, arises from positive feedback between the water produced by the reaction and the transport of protons in the membrane. A critical level of membrane hydration is required for ignition; insufficient membrane hydration will extinguish the fuel cell current. This new autocatalytic mechanism has an interesting analogy to the autothermal reactor.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
- Multiphase reactors
- Nonlinear dynamics
- Reaction engineering
- Transient response