When individual proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) are assembled together to form a stack and provide energy for practical applications, an appropriate clamping load is usually required to render the stack high efficiency, high reliability, and excellent durability. From both modeling and experimental aspects, this article first highlights the effect of clamping load on the electron transfer, mass (water and reactant gases) transfer, and heat transfer in a PEMFC stack and then puts the attentions on the optimization design of clamping load with emphases on the optimal clamping load and the homogenous distribution of clamping load. This summary may deepen our understanding of the assembly of a PEMFC stack and provide referential information for the designer and manufacturer.

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