Research Papers

Computational Flow Analysis of Bipolar Plate for Fuel Cells

[+] Author and Article Information
Rajesh Boddu

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115

Pradip Majumdar1

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115majumdar@ceet.niu.edu


Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 5(4), 041002 (Sep 05, 2008) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2930772 History: Received July 12, 2006; Revised February 07, 2008; Published September 05, 2008

A trilayer fuel cell includes separate flow channels for hydrogen and oxygen. One potential alternative flow channel design is the use of a bipolar plate that connects cathode of a trilayer fuel cell to anode of the next trilayer fuel cell in order to provide an efficient flow of current through the cells with reduced voltage loss. The design of the bipolar plates provides considerable engineering challenges. It requires being thin with good contact surfaces for the purpose reduced electrical resistances as well as efficient transport processes for the reactant gasses in microchannels with reduced pressure drops. Fluid flow and heat and mass transport in gas flow channels play an important role in the effective performance of the fuel cell. A bipolar plate design with straight parallel channels is considered and flow field in gas flow channels are analyzed using computational fluid dynamic model. Results for pressure drop coefficient and heat transfer coefficients with varying flow Reynolds number are presented

Copyright © 2008 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 8

Pressure coefficient curves along different channels

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Figure 3

GAMBIT modeling for the bipolar plate with straight parallel channels

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Figure 4

Computational mesh for straight parallel channels

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Figure 5

Maximum centerline velocity distribution (entry length)

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Figure 6

Contour plots: (a) static pressure, (b) dynamic pressure, (c) total pressure, (d) velocity magnitude, and (e) velocity vectors

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Figure 7

Maximum centerline velocity along the length of the channel

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Figure 1

Trilayer fuel cell with the series of bipolar plates

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Figure 2

Pro-E solid modeling with basic configuration and geometry of the straight parallel channels

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Figure 9

Variation of pressure coefficient (CP) with Reynolds number

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Figure 10

Contours of temperature and velocity magnitude of channels (C-1 to C-6) along the flow direction: (a) 0.005m, (b) 0.015m, (c) 0.035m, and (d) 0.045m

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Figure 11

Distribution axial velocity component and temperature and near the top surface: (a) 0.015, (b) 0.025 m, (c) 0.035 m, (d) 0.045 m

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Figure 12

Developing heat transfer coefficient for mass flow: (a) 0.0015 kg/sec, (b) 0.002 kg/sec, (c) 0.003 kg/sec, (d) 0.004 kg/sec, (e) 0.005 kg/sec



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