Transport Limitations in a Microfluidic Fuel Cell

Tyser, Jason
Much research has been done on microfluidic fuel cells with electrodes deposited in the channels of the fuel cell; however there has been little research done on fuel cells with external electrodes. This research project attempted to optimize the Nafion membrane fuel cell and compare the electrical output of microfluidic fuel cells with external and deposited electrodes. There were three objectives to this research: first, test all the fuel cells using the membrane preparation technique as outlined by Motokawa et al. (2004); second, bond a Nafion membrane to a glass chip and compare to unbonded fuel cells; and third, create a fuel cell with deposited electrodes and compare it to a fuel cell with external electrodes. The first objective showed an increase in current with the 50 μm but not the 115 μm Nafion membranes compared to previous tests. The second objective showed that it is possible to bond a Nafion membrane to a glass chip and a bonded fuel cell produces consistently higher currents than a fuel cell that is not bonded. The third objective showed the major finding that a deposited electrode fuel cell produces higher currents than an external electrode fuel cell.
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