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Research Papers

Flow and Pressure Distribution in Fuel Cell Manifolds

[+] Author and Article Information
Jesper Lebæk1

Energy and Climate Division, Danish Technological Institute, Kongsvang Allé 29, 8000 Aarhus, Denmarkjesperlebaek@teknologisk.dk

Mads Bang, Søren Knudsen Kær

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

1

Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 7(6), 061001 (Aug 16, 2010) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4001319 History: Received May 22, 2007; Revised January 28, 2010; Published August 16, 2010; Online August 16, 2010

The manifold is an essential part of the fuel cell stack. Evidently, evenly distributed reactants are a prerequisite for an efficient fuel cell stack. In this study, the cathode manifold ability to distribute air to the cells of a 70 cell stack is investigated experimentally. By means of 20 differential pressure gauges, the flow distribution is mapped for several geometrical and operating conditions. Special attention is given to the inlet conditions of the manifold. Here, a diffuser design was constructed in order to replace the conventional circular inlet design. The diffuser design showed significant improvements to the flow distribution in comparison to the circular design. Moreover, the best flow distribution was found using a U-shaped configuration.

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Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Layout of test setup

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Figure 2

Exploded view of the test rig

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Figure 3

U and Z flow configurations

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Figure 4

A measure of the experimental uncertainty in liters per minute (l/min) and percent (%)

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Figure 5

Diffuser inlet configuration (a) mounted in test rig and (b) dimensional drawing

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Figure 6

Pressure distribution measurements with varying flows

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Figure 7

Normalized flow distribution—U-configuration

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Figure 8

Normalized flow distribution—Z-configuration

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Figure 9

Normalized flow distribution for a U-configuration: (a) diffuser and (b) circular

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Figure 10

Normalized flow distribution for a Z-configuration: (a) diffuser and (b) circular

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Figure 11

Comparison of U (a) and Z (b) flows using circular and diffuser inlet configurations

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