Faculty Advisor

Kmiotek, Stephen J.


Proton exchange membrane fuel cells are a potential source of energy for commercial use, but efficiency is insufficient for feasible implementation. Research has been focused on improving the cell’s individual components, and this report focuses on the permeability of the gas diffusion layer. Global, through-plane, and in-plane permeabilities were tested using nitrogen, hydrogen, and mixtures of the gases in ratios 1:1 and 2:1 (N2:H2). Two different modified cells were used to test the permeability types by manipulating gas flow direction. Darcy’s Law with the Forchheimer term was used for permeability calculations. It was found that the presence of an MPL lowers GDL permeability and has a greater impact on through-plane permeability than in-plane permeability.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

March 2019


Chemical Engineering

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Chemical Engineering