Dependence of the cell resistance on external potential in DMFC system

Noriko Oikawa, Lorene L. Abella, Satoshi Fukada, Tatsuya Matsumoto, Kenji Fukuda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The polarization properties of a portable direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) subjected to an external potential are experimentally investigated. In DMFC, polymer electrolyte membrane plays important role as a proton conductor. The resistance of the membrane, which reflects ion-transport and mobility of ions through the membrane, is one of the fundamental factors that determine electric activity of the fuel cell. We applied an external potential in the reverse and forward direction to the cell potential of the DMFC system. From the dependencies of the effective membrane resistance on the external potential, it was found that there are several thresholds in the external potential at which the main reactions of the cell are switched. In the case of the reverse external potential, electrolysis of water and methanol induced by the accumulated electrons and protons reduce the cell resistance. For the forward external potential, on the other hand, the resistance becomes high due to the polarization inside the membrane. The resistance decreases as electric decomposition of water and methanol proceeds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-76
Number of pages10
JournalMemoirs of the Faculty of Engineering, Kyushu University
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 5 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Energy
  • Atmospheric Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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