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Research Papers

Modeling and Simulations of Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells With Poroelastic Approach for Coupled Liquid Water Transport and Deformation in the Membrane

[+] Author and Article Information
Serhat Yesilyurt

Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences, Sabanci University, Istanbul 34956, Turkeysyesilyurt@sabanciuniv.edu

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 7(3), 031008 (Mar 11, 2010) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3207869 History: Received July 07, 2008; Revised April 07, 2009; Published March 11, 2010; Online March 11, 2010

Performance degradation and durability of polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells depend strongly on transport and deformation characteristics of their components especially the polymer membrane. Physical properties of membranes, such as ionic conductivity and Young’s modulus, depend on the water content that varies significantly with operating conditions and during transients. Recent studies indicate that cyclic transients may induce hygrothermal fatigue that leads to the ultimate failure of the membrane shortening its lifetime and, thus, hindering the reliable use of PEM fuel cells for automotive applications. In this work, we present two-dimensional simulations and analysis of coupled deformation and transport in PEM fuel cells to improve the understanding of membrane deformation under steady-state and transient conditions. A two-dimensional cross section of anode and cathode gas diffusion layers, and the membrane sandwiched between them is modeled using Maxwell–Stefan equations for species transport in gas diffusion layers, Biot’s poroelasticity, Darcy’s law for deformation and water transport in the membrane, and Ohm’s law for ionic currents in the membrane and electric currents in the gas diffusion layers. Steady-state deformation and transport of water in the membrane, transient responses to step changes in load, and relative humidity of the anode and cathode are obtained from simulation experiments, which are conducted by means of a commercial finite-element package, COMSOL MULTIPHYSICS .

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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References

Figures

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Figure 1

Two-dimensional PEM fuel cell section modeled in this work; the dashed lines indicate symmetry surfaces

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Figure 2

Polarization curve for the base case

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Figure 3

Average membrane water concentration per sulfonic group as a function of load current for the base case

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Figure 4

von Mises stress distribution and current vectors in the PEM fuel cell section for Jcell=2000 A m−2, 5000 A m−2, 10,000 A m−2, and 15,000 A m−2 ((a)–(d))

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Figure 5

Average water concentration per sulfonic group in the membrane as a function of clamping pressure for Jcell=5000 A m−2

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Figure 6

Water concentration (per sulfonic group) profile at the anode-membrane interface for clamping pressures of 1 MPa, 10 MPa, 20 MPa, 30 MPa, and 50 MPa

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Figure 7

Cell voltage as a function of time in response to a fast ramp in load current density from 2000 A m−2 to 7000 A m−2 at t=10 s with a duration of 0.1 s

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Figure 8

Average water concentration per sulfonic group in the membrane as a function of time in response to ramp load current density from 2000 A m−2 to 7000 A m−2 at t=10 s with the duration of 0.1 s

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Figure 9

Water pressure in the membrane at the membrane-cathode interface, and x=0 mm (under the shoulder) and x=1 mm (under the channel) during the load transient

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Figure 10

von Mises stress at the anode- (square markers) and cathode- (triangle markers) sides of the membrane during the load transient

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Figure 11

Average water concentration per sulfonic group in the membrane as a function of time in the anode-RH transient

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Figure 12

Cell voltage as a function of time in response to the ramp change in anode RH from 0.1 to 1.0 at t=10 s with the duration of 0.1 s

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Figure 13

von Mises stress at the anode- (square markers) and cathode- (triangle markers) sides of the membrane during the anode-RH transient

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Figure 14

Average water concentration per sulfonic group in the membrane as a function of time in the cathode-RH transient

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Figure 15

von Mises stress at the anode- (square markers) and cathode- (triangle markers) sides of the membrane during the cathode-RH transient

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