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Research Papers

Particle Image Velocimetry and Computational Fluid Dynamics Analysis of Fuel Cell Manifold

[+] Author and Article Information
Jesper Lebæk1

 Danish Technological Institute, Kongsvang Allé 29, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmarkjesper.jespersen@teknologisk.dk

Marcin Blazniak Andreasen

 Danish Technological Institute, Kongsvang Allé 29, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark

Henrik Assenholm Andresen, Mads Bang, Søren Knudsen Kær

Institute of Energy Technology, Aalborg University, Pontoppidansstræde 101, DK-9220 Aalborg Ø, Denmark

1

Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 7(3), 031001 (Mar 09, 2010) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3206697 History: Received July 02, 2007; Revised June 30, 2009; Published March 09, 2010

The inlet effect on the manifold flow in a fuel cell stack was investigated by means of numerical methods (computational fluid dynamics) and experimental methods (particle image velocimetry). At a simulated high current density situation the flow field was mapped on a 70 cell simulated cathode manifold. Three different inlet configurations were tested: plug flow, circular inlet, and a diffuser inlet. A very distinct jet was formed in the manifold, when using the circular inlet configuration, which was confirmed both experimentally and numerically. This jet was found to be an asymmetric confined jet, known as the symmetry-breaking bifurcation phenomenon, and it is believed to cause a significant maldistribution of the stack flow distribution. The investigated diffuser design proved to generate a much smoother transition from the pipe flow to the manifold flow with a subsequent better flow distribution. A method was found in the literature to probe if there is a risk of jet asymmetry; it is however recommended by the author to implement a diffuser design, as this will generate better stack flow distribution and less head loss. Generally, the numerical and experimental results were found in to be good agreement, however, a detailed investigation revealed some difference in the results.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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References

Figures

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Figure 1

Geometry of CFD and experimental test environment

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Figure 2

Reynolds number along the cathode manifold, based on data from a 1D-model (6)

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Figure 3

CFD simulation of diffuser inlet used as inlet boundary in the diffuser simulation

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Figure 4

Exploded view of test rig

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Figure 5

Experimental PIV setup, placement of laser, and camera can be change to measure the other plane

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Figure 6

The Stokes number, Stv, as a function of seeding particle diameter for the experiments

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Figure 7

Centerline x-velocity at different time steps

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Figure 8

Comparison of different turbulence models, showing the centerline velocity

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Figure 9

Flow distribution for (a) plug flow, (b) circular, and (c) diffuser inlet configuration

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Figure 10

Normalized flow distribution, using the U-flow configuration and a circular inlet

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Figure 11

Experimental and numerical centerline velocity comparison, using the diffuser inlet configuration

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Figure 12

Position of the extracted velocity profiles

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Figure 13

Velocity profiles (top to bottom) from the inlet manifold, using the diffuser configuration

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Figure 14

Velocity profiles extracted from the width of the manifold, using the circular inlet configuration

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Figure 15

Velocity profiles extracted from the width of the manifold, using the diffuser configuration

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Figure 16

Velocity profiles (top to bottom) from the outlet manifold, using the diffuser configuration

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Figure 17

Deflection of flow into cell inlets: (a) PIV experiments and (b) CFD simulation

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