Fuel Cell Evaluation, Measurement, and Characterization
Office of Automotive Engineering

Contact Information

email icon
Contact us:

image of one of many multifunctional test equipment areas maintained at Southwest Research Institute

One of many multifunctional test equipment areas maintained at Southwest Research Institute

A multifunctional array of instrumentation and test equipment is maintained at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) to support fuel cell development and testing from basic materials to individual fuel cells, stacks, and complete systems. SwRI provides extensive support for testing, measuring, and characterizing hydrogen sources, such as:

  • LPG
  • CNG
  • Methane
  • Propane
  • Gasoline
  • Diesel
  • JP8

Fuel Cell Capabilities

Relevant fuel cell-related testing capabilities include:

  • Specialized mechanical testing of gas diffusion media and carbon composite materials
  • Creep testing of gasketing and other polymeric components
  • High-strain rate testing of ceramic materials
  • Stress corrosion cracking evaluation, using:
    • Multi-specimen and single-specimen slow strain-rate machines
    • Constant deflection systems
    • Fracture mechanics approaches
  • Specialized electromechanical fatigue testing
  • Fuel constituent analyses
  • Analytical testing, including water content
  • Reformate constituency
  • Input fuel purity
    • CO
    • CO2
    • Sulfur contamination
  • Metal hydride and carbon material storage efficiency
  • Environmental testing
    • Temperature
    • Vibration
    • Corrosion
  • Particulate contamination effects
  • Stack characterization for power and efficiency
  • Biological growth contamination

Bench-Scale Capabilities

SwRI also performs bench-scale evaluations of polymer electrolyte fuel cells and can reconfigure for other types of fuel cells, including direct methanol systems. Specific capabilities include:

  • Automated data acquisition and control
  • Limited-scale durability testing
  • CO and reformate mixing capability
  • Cycle polarization and electrochemical impedance testing capabilities

Related Terminology

fuel cell systems  •  fuel cell evaluation and testing  •  fuel cell systems development  •  fuel cell testing  •  stationary fuel cell systems  •  fuel cell design  •  fuel cell optimization  •  portable fuel cells

Benefiting government, industry and the public through innovative science and technology
Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 9 technical divisions.