An unstructured, two-dimensional pore network model is employed to describe the effect of through-plane porosity profiles on liquid water saturation within the gas diffusion layer (GDL) of the polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell. Random fibre placements are based on the porosity profiles of six commercially available GDL materials recently obtained through x-ray computed tomography experiments. The pore space is characterized with a Voronoi diagram, and invasion percolation-based simulations are performed. It is shown that water tends to accumulate in regions of relatively high porosity due to the lower associated capillary pressures. It is predicted that GDLs tailored to have smooth porosity profiles will have fewer pockets of high saturation levels within the bulk of the material.

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