To observe the liquid water distribution in porous layers of an operational Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) with high spatial and temporal resolution, Laboratory-based soft X-ray microscopy has developed. This system can generate low energy X-ray in the soft X-ray range, and maximum sensitivity towards water is achieved. A point X-ray source with a diameter of less than 1.0 μm and the improved detector optics contribute to realize a spatial resolution of 500 nm and a temporal resolution of 1.0 sec/frame. In addition, in-plane and through-plane observations of an operational PEMFC were carried out. In the in-plane observation test, non-uniform distribution of liquid water in the plane of the catalyst layer was observed, and the importance of appropriate design of the catalyst layer to liquid water transport phenomena was suggested. In the through-plane observation test, liquid water discharge behavior near under the rib area was observed, and the importance of channel wall wettability to liquid water transport phenomena was also suggested.

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