Application of a thermally conductive pyrolytic graphite sheet to thermal management of a PEM fuel cell

Chih-yung Wen, Guo Wei Huang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

96 Citations (Scopus)


This work experimentally investigates the thermal performance of a pyrolytic graphite sheet (PGS) in a single proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). This PGS with high thermal conductivity serves as a heat spreader, reduces the volume and weight of cooling systems, and reduces and homogenizes the temperature in the reaction area of the fuel cells. A transparent PEMFC is constructed with PGS of thickness 0.1 mm cut into the shape of a flow channel and bound with the cathode gas channel plate. Eleven thermocouples are embedded at different positions on the cathode gas channel plate to measure the temperature distribution. The water and water flooding inside the cathode gas channels, with and without PGS, were successfully visualized. The locations of liquid water are correlated with the temperature measurement. PGS reduces the maximum cell temperature and improves cell performance at high cathode flow rates. The temperature distribution is also more uniform in the cell with PGS than in the one without PGS. Results of this study demonstrate the promising application of PGS to the thermal management of a fuel cell system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-140
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Heat sink
  • Proton exchange membrane fuel cell
  • Pyrolytic graphite sheet
  • Thermal management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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