Particle Image Velocimetry Measurements in a Model Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell

[+] Author and Article Information
J. P. Feser, S. G. Advani

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716-3140

A. K. Prasad1

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716-3140prasad@udel.edu


Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 4(3), 328-335 (Jun 05, 2006) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2744053 History: Received February 13, 2006; Revised June 05, 2006

Particle image velocimetry was used to measure 2D velocity fields in representative regions of interest within flow channels of interdigitated and single-serpentine proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell models. The model dimensions, gas diffusion layer (GDL) permeability, working fluid, and flow rates were selected to be geometrically and dynamically similar to the cathode-side airflow in a typical PEM fuel cell. The model was easily reconfigurable between parallel, single-serpentine, and interdigitated flow fields, and was constructed from transparent materials to enable optical imaging. Velocity maps were obtained of both the primary and secondary flow within the channels. Measurements of the secondary flows in interdigitated and single-serpentine flow fields indicate that significant portions of the flow travel between adjacent channels through the porous medium. Such convective bypass can enhance fuel cell performance by supplying fresh reactant to the lands regions and also by driving out product water from under the lands to the flow channels.

Copyright © 2007 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Grahic Jump Location
Figure 1

Basic requirements for a PIV system (10)

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Figure 2

Diagram of reconfigurable flow field. Each channel is denoted by a number, 1–5. Friction-fitted rubber flow stoppers determine the path of the fluid.

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Figure 3

Assembly diagram for PIV model. For illustrative purposes, the flow field is shown upside down.

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Figure 6

Vertical velocity at the y location closest to the porous media (y=0) for various values of z in channel 3 of the serpentine configuration. Note: The data for z=26cm is taken along the line y∕h=0.14 because of fibers that protrude into the channels.




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