Acta Phys. -Chim. Sin. ›› 2015, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (3): 489-497.doi: 10.3866/PKU.WHXB201501221

• ELECTROCHEMISTRY AND NEW ENERGY • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Simulation of Sphere-Microstructure Model of the Catalyst Layer in a PEMFC

ZHANG Jie-Jing1,2, WANG Yu-Xin2, XU Li2   

  1. 1. School of Life Sciences, Jilin Agricultural University, Changchun 130118, P. R. China;
    2. State Key Laboratory of Chemical Engineering, School of Chemical Engineering and Technology, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, P. R. China
  • Received:2014-11-04 Revised:2015-01-22 Published:2015-03-06
  • Contact: ZHANG Jie-Jing
  • Supported by:

    The project was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (20606025), Jilin Agricultural University, China (201409), and Changchun Administration of Science & Technology, China (2013173).


The catalyst layer in a proton-exchange-membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) was simulated based on a sphere-microstructure model that consisted of Pt/C particles and a mixed ionomer-pore phase. Pt/C particles were randomly distributed in the model and were treated as spheres with a normal distribution of their size assumed. Transport and electrochemical reactions in the model catalyst layer were calculated. The variation of oxygen level, overpotential, reaction rate, and cell current through the catalyst layer was discussed in relation to changes in electrode thickness and Pt/C particle size. The corresponding polarization curves were also analyzed. Through this analysis, optimal values for electrode thickness and particle size were achieved.

Key words: Ultrathin electrode, Sphere microstructure model, Pt/C particle size, Electrode thickness, Catalyst utilization