Netzeband, C.; Arlt, T.; Wippermann, K.; Lehnert, W.; Manke, I.: Three-dimensional multiscale analysis of degradation of nano- and micro-structure in direct methanol fuel cell electrodes after methanol starvation. Journal of Power Sources 327 (2016), p. 481-487

This study investigates the ageing effects on the microstructure of the anode catalyst layer of direct methanol fuel cells (DMFC) after complete methanol starvation. To this end the samples of two methanol-depleted membrane electrode assemblies (MEA) have been compared with a pristine reference sample. A three-dimensional characterization of the anode catalyst layer (ACL) structure on a nanometer scale has been conducted by focused ion beam (FIB)/scanning electron microscope (SEM) tomography. The FIB/SEM tomography allows for a detailed analysis of statistic parameters of microstructured materials, such as porosity, tortuosity and pore size distributions. Furthermore, the SEM images displayed a high material contrast between the heavy catalyst metals (Pt/Ru) and the relatively light carbon support, which made it possible to map the catalyst distribution in the acquired FIB/SEM tomographies. Additional synchrotron X-ray tomographies have been conducted in order to obtain an overview of the structural changes of all the components of a section of the MEAs after methanol depletion.