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ERIC Number: EJ1046261
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Nov
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Developing and Implementing a Simple, Affordable Hydrogen Fuel Cell Laboratory in Introductory Chemistry
Klara, Kristina; Hou, Ning; Lawman, Allison; Wu, Liheng; Morrill, Drew; Tente, Alfred; Wang, Li-Qiong
Journal of Chemical Education, v91 n11 p1924-1928 Nov 2014
A simple, affordable hydrogen proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell laboratory was developed through a collaborative effort between faculty and undergraduate students at Brown University. It has been incorporated into the introductory chemistry curriculum and successfully implemented in a class of over 500 students per academic year for over 3 years. This laboratory involves a PEM fuel cell that uses hydrogen gas to power a small cell phone vibrator and a model car. The lab highlights electrochemical and thermodynamic concepts while illuminating how hydrogen fuel cells generate clean energy without polluting the environment. Hydrogen fuel is generated by the in situ electrolysis of water, and the chemical energy of the fuel and oxidant is then converted into electrical energy that can do work. A circuit board with a mini cell phone vibrator and a resistor built onto a model fuel cell car enables students to make a series of electrical measurements in addition to observing the car or mini cell phone vibrator run. Through simple electric measurements, thermodynamic parameters such as Gibbs's free energy and the efficiency of the hydrogen fuel cell can be calculated. This laboratory is designed to spark students' interest and to expose them to a real-world application of electrochemistry.
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A