In this work, micro-computed tomography was employed to characterize the effect of rib and channel compression on the through-plane porosity distributions of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) gas diffusion layers (GDLs). Two GDLs with micro-porous layers (MPLs): a paper based GDL (GDL A), and a felt GDL (GDL B) were compressed at 1.2 MPa in an ex situ flow field apparatus with 1mm × 1mm channels. Porosity distributions of compressed GDLs were compared with those of uncompressed GDLs, and the microstructural differences caused during the manufacturing of paper, felt, and cloth GDLs are discussed. The results of this study will aid modellers in generating realistic stochastic GDL pore structures for multiphase flow simulations.

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