The oxygen transfer characteristics of the gas diffusion layer are closely related to the cell performance of a polymer electrolyte fuel cell. In this study, a new hybrid gas diffusion layer is proposed in which two porous media with different wettabilities are arranged alternately for augmentation of the oxygen diffusivity in the gas diffusion layer. Since the movement of water from hydrophobic to hydrophilic media due to the difference in capillary pressure, the oxygen diffusion paths in the porous media can be maintained. The oxygen diffusion characteristics with respect to water saturation were measured using an experimental apparatus that uses a galvanic battery oxygen sensor as an oxygen absorber. The experimental results demonstrate that the hybrid structure has superior oxygen diffusion characteristics than a conventional gas diffusion layer with a single porous material with moisture. That is, the effective oxygen diffusivity of the hybrid configuration was almost five times larger than that of the single type at water saturation S = 0.2.

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