Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

First Advisor

Muraldihar Ghantasala

Second Advisor

Hassan Shirzadi Jahromi


The main objective of this project was to develop at test stand and relevant testing procedures to aid in ongoing research being conducted by Dr. Ghantasala’s team on platinum-alternative catalyst materials used in proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). To do this, various software (Microsoft Excel, Python, and Simscape) were used to create fuel cell simulations of increasing complexity. These simulations served as baselines for PEMFC evaluation in experimental testing, and they were used to create polarization curves, a standard method for evaluating steady state fuel cell performance. A test stand was also created in order to effectively and efficiently test the performance of hydrogen fuel cells. It was fitted with precision gas flow control valves, a PID temperature controller, and a custom-developed electrical performance measurement system that communicated with an onboard DAQ. Using this test stand, experimental polarization curves were created using the most common PEMFC catalyst, platinum. The experimental results were compared to the theoretical ones generated by each simulation, and they were similar in open circuit voltage and general shape. This test stand can be adapted and improved to aid future research of single cell PEMFCs with different catalyst materials, allowing for rapid disassembly, assembly, and integrated measurements to be taken.


Co-authored with:

Athena Shupick

Parker Brice

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Presentation.pdf (3086 kB)
Defense Presentation