For further improvement of PEMFC (Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell) performance, an optimal design based not only on empirical knowledge but also systematic physical laws and numerical simulation is desirable. However, even basic parameters such as mass transport and thermal characteristics through layers are not completely clear. A GDL (Gas Diffusion Layer) is one of the key components of PEMFC, and its property strongly affects the temperature distribution, diffusion limitation, and flooding. Thus, we measured the diffusivity and thermal conductivity inside a GDL and at its surface boundaries. Anisotropic diffusivity was observed inside the GDL. The measured diffusivities inside the GDL were 59% lower than the value without a GDL in the thickness direction and 25% lower in plane direction. The measured diffusive resistance at the GDL surface was not considerably different from that achieved through conventional laminar analysis, although some special effects would have been observed at the GDL surface because of its high porosity. Regarding the thermal characteristics, the contact resistance at the GDL surface was measured to be as large as the resistance inside the GDL. However, the contact resistance became extremely small when the GDL contained water.

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