Fuel Cell Transport All-Terrain Transport (FCATT) Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) Fuel Cell Degradation Mechanism Analysis
Technical Report,01 Jan 2018,01 Sep 2018
US ARMY TARDEC WARREN United States
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This purpose of this paper is to report on the investigation and characterization of the degradation mechanisms of the FCATT PEM fuel cell. The FCATT PEM Fuel Cell Failure Analysis Report 1 identified two potential degradation processes occurring in the fuel cell, which were 1. Both the Proton Exchange Membrane PEM material located in the Membrane Electrode Assembly MEA and MEA produced acetic acid when heated to 65C or greater temperatures in deionized water and, 2. The total area of platinum nanoparticle electrocatalyst that coated the inside of the cathode MEA was significantly lower than its anode counterpart for each cell. This lack of platinum on the cathode side was especially apparent in the lowest performing cell, which was also producing the greatest amount of acetic acid on the cathode side of the cell. While the production of acetic acid from the thermal decomposition of the PEM material by itself appears to have a limited impact on performance, I hypothesize that the production of acetic acid in combination with heat andor applied electrical bias through the platinum contributed to the degradation of the platinum nanoparticle electrocatalyst. The degradation andor loss of the electrocatalyst would have a significant impact on stack performance, so understanding the mechanism behind each process is important to preventing stack damage.
- Electrochemical Energy Storage