Standard Article

Carbon-support corrosion mechanisms and models

Advances in Electrocatalysis, Materials, Diagnostics and Durability

Performance degradation

Low-temperature fuel cells

  1. K. G. Gallagher1,
  2. R. M. Darling2,
  3. T. F. Fuller1

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470974001.f500054

Handbook of Fuel Cells

Handbook of Fuel Cells

How to Cite

Gallagher, K. G., Darling, R. M. and Fuller, T. F. 2010. Carbon-support corrosion mechanisms and models. Handbook of Fuel Cells. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    UTC Power, South Windsor, CT, USA

  2. 2

    Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


The most significant challenges to the commercialization of fuel cells are cost and durability. The electrochemical oxidation of carbon in low-temperature fuel cells reduces the lifetime of these power plants. This article presents a current understanding of carbon oxidation and corrosion mechanisms that accelerate the reaction. Carbon is oxidized under various conditions including the reverse-current mechanism, which occurs when a fuel cell is started or stopped and during localized fuel starvation. Models and mitigation strategies are presented to enhance the understanding of the reverse-current mechanism. We conclude that a combined system and material mitigation strategy is necessary to overcome this corrosion mechanism.


  • fuel cell;
  • carbon;
  • corrosion;
  • oxidation;
  • start;
  • stop;
  • reverse-current;
  • fuel starvation