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Research Papers

Mass Transports in an Air-Breathing Cathode of a Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell

[+] Author and Article Information
J. J. Hwang1

Graduate Institute of Greenergy Technology, National University of Tainan, Tainan 700, Taiwanazaijj@mail.nutn.edu.tw

W. R. Chang

Department of Landscape Architecture, Chung-Hua University, Hsinchu 300, Taiwan

C. H. Chao

Department of Electrical Engineering, Ta-Hua Institute of Technology, Hsinchu 307, Taiwan

F. B. Weng, A. Su

Fuel Cell Center & Department of Mechanical Engineering, Yuan Ze University, Nei Li, Taoyuan, 320, Taiwan

1

Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 6(4), 041003 (Aug 11, 2009) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3081424 History: Received April 15, 2007; Revised July 25, 2008; Published August 11, 2009

Mass transport in an air-breathing cathode of a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell was investigated numerically. The porous cathode in contact with a perforated current collector breathes fresh air through an array of orifices. The diffusions of reactant species in the porous cathodes are described using the Stefan–Maxwell equation. The electrochemical reaction on the surfaces of the porous cathode is modeled using the Butler–Volmer equation. Gas flow in the air-breathing porous cathodes is described using isotropic linear resistance model with constant porosity and permeability. The electron/ion transports in the catalyst/electrolyte are handled using charge conservation based on Ohm’s law. A finite-element scheme is adopted to solve these coupled equations. The effects of electrode porosity (0.4<ε<0.6) on the fluid flow, mass transport, and electrochemistry are examined. Detailed electrochemical/mass characteristics, such as flow velocities, species mass fraction, species flux, and current density distributions are presented. These details provide a solid basis for optimizing the geometry of a PEM fuel cell stack that is run in passive mode.

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Copyright © 2009 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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References

Figures

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Figure 1

Geometry of air-breathing cathode

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Figure 2

Coordinate system and dimensions of the unit cell

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Figure 3

Effect of cathode porosity on the distributions of velocity vectors for ε=0.4

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Figure 4

Effect of cathode porosity on the distributions of velocity vectors for ε=0.6

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Figure 5

Distributions of oxygen concentration on the module surfaces and several cutting planes in the porous cathode for ε=0.6

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Figure 6

Distributions of water-vapor concentration on the module surfaces and several cutting planes in the porous cathode for ε=0.6

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Figure 7

Distributions of ionic potentials on the module surfaces and several cutting planes for ε=0.6

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Figure 8

Distributions of electrical potentials on the module surfaces and several cutting planes for ε=0.6

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Figure 9

Distributions of ionic potential along the z direction at the module center and the remote corner, ε=0.6

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Figure 10

Distributions of electrical potential along the z direction at the module center and the remote corner, ε=0.6

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Figure 11

Distributions of current density along z direction at the module center (x=1.5 mm, y=1.5 mm) and the remote corner (x=0, y=0), ε=0.6

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Figure 12

Distributions of electrical current density along the line from the orifice center (x=1.5 mm, y=1.5 mm) to x=0, y=0, and ε=0.6

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Figure 13

Distributions of ionic current density along the line from the orifice center (x=1.5 mm, y=1.5 mm) to x=0, y=0, and ε=0.6

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