A new analytical approach is proposed for evaluating the in-plane permeability of gas diffusion layers (GDLs) of proton exchange membrane fuel cells. In this approach, the microstructure of carbon papers is modeled as a combination of equally-sized, equally-spaced fibers parallel and perpendicular to the flow direction. The permeability of the carbon paper is then estimated by a blend of the permeability of the two groups. Several blending techniques are investigated to find an optimum blend through comparisons with experimental data for GDLs. The proposed model captures the trends of experimental data over the entire range of GDL porosity. In addition, a compact relationship is reported that predicts the in-plane permeability of GDL as a function of porosity and the fiber diameter.

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