In this work, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is demonstrated as a strong diagnostic tool to gather information about water generation and transport inside an operating PEM fuel cell. The MRI technique is used to gather quantitative water distribution data in three dimensions. Acquisition times are as fast as 8 seconds, allowing observation of dynamic processes within the flow channels. Flow channel depth and geometry are varied, and the effect on water distribution and overall cell performance measured.
The MRI technique is shown to be a strong diagnostic tool for fuel cell researchers, due to its fast, quantitative and 3-dimensional spatial data acquisition properties.