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Technical Briefs

An Analytical Solution to Predict the Inception of Two-Phase Flow in a Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell

[+] Author and Article Information
A. S. Bansode, T. Sundararajan

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai 600 036, India

Sarit K. Das1

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai 600 036, Indiaskdas@iitm.ac.in

1

Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 7(6), 064502 (Aug 20, 2010) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4001760 History: Received May 20, 2009; Revised March 09, 2010; Published August 20, 2010; Online August 20, 2010

The presence of liquid water at the cathode of proton exchange membrane fuel cell hinders the reactant supply to the electrode and is known as electrode flooding. The flooding at the cathode due to the presence of two-phase flow of water is one of the major performance limiting conditions. A pseudo-two-dimensional analytical model is developed to predict the inception of two-phase flow along the length of the cathode channel. The diffusion of the water is considered to take place only across the gas diffusion layer (GDL). The current density corresponding to the inception of two-phase flow, called the threshold current density, is found to be a function of the channel length and height, GDL thickness, velocity, and relative humidity of the air at the inlet and cell temperature. Thus, for given design and operating conditions, the analytical model is capable of predicting the inception of two-phase flow, and therefore a flooding condition can be avoided in the first place.

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Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Two-dimensional PEM fuel cell model

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Figure 2

Pseudo two-dimensional PEM fuel cell model

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Figure 3

Deviation between the experimental and numerical results predicted by analytical model for parallel flow distributor: mair=2 L/min and Tcell=60°C

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Figure 4

Effect of channel flow length on threshold current density, GDL thickness=0.35 mm, RHin=0%, and Tcell=80°C

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Figure 5

Effect of air velocity at different GDL thicknesses on threshold current density, channel length=70 mm, RHin=60%, and Tcell=80°C

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Figure 6

Effect of air velocity at different relative humidities at the inlet on threshold current density, channel length=70 mm, GDL thickness=0.35 mm, and Tcell=80°C

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Figure 7

Effect of air inlet velocity at different cell temperatures on threshold current density, channel length=70 mm, GDL thickness=0.35 mm, and RHin=60%

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