We develop new paradigms for multiscale transport required for optimizing the next-generation of fuel cell technology. Mathematical modeling is used to link the material and system properties of fuel cells to their measurable performance. By decoupling the mass transport and kinetic effects on cell performance, we can explain the competing phenomena at play as well as provide design insight which can improve fuel cell durability, lifetime, and performance.
The synergistic use experiments and theory provides key insights into complex systems. Our theoretical analysis and experiments of porous catalyst layers are elucidating the cause of the most pressing issue of next generation fuel cells: the unexplained mass-transport resistances.
Another aim of this research is to improve fuel cell durability such that fuel cells can be deployed for heavy duty vehicle transportation. For this, we move away from the standard steady state cell models and look towards the transient response of fuel cells under varied loads, that would be typical of a heavy duty vehicle. We study how various mechanical and chemical degradation mechanisms interact with each other and study at which time scales they are relevant.
This work is in collaboration with the Weber group at LBNL.
Microelectrodes can be used as substitutes for the catalyst particles present in fuel cells. By covering the microelectrode in an thin layer of ionomer (conducting polymer), the transport properties of the ionomer can be studied, as well as the effect on the oxygen reduction reaction and hydrogen oxidation reaction kinetics. In this way, the catalyst layer in fuel cells can be tested and improved upon in a smaller scale environment.
This project is in collaboration with the Weber group at LBNL.
By understanding the transport phenomenon of the anterior segment of the eye and contact lenses, we develop novel tools and theoretical models to assess ocular health and safety of various types of novel contact-lens wear. Some of our works include assessing the evaporation of the tear film, determining tear production rate, understanding heat transport on the ocular surface and understanding oxygen delivery to the cornea.
This project is in collaboration with the Clinical Research Center at School of Optometry.