A fuel cell includes first and second flow field plates, and an anode electrode and a cathode electrode between the flow field plates. A polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) is arranged between the electrodes. At least one of the flow field plates influences, at least in part, an in-plane anisotropic physical condition of the PEM that varies in magnitude between a high value direction and a low value direction. The PEM has an in-plane physical property that varies in magnitude between a high value direction and a low value direction. The PEM is oriented with its high value direction substantially aligned with the high value direction of the flow field plate.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
This invention was made with Government support under Contract No. DE-PS36-08GO98009 awarded by the Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in this invention.