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Research Papers

Numerical Studies of Thermal Transport and Mechanical Effects Due to Thermal-Inertia Loading in PEMFC Stack in Subfreezing Environment

[+] Author and Article Information
Pengtao Sun

Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 4505 Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas, NV 89154pengtao.sun@unlv.edu

Su Zhou

Department of Fuel Cell Power Systems, Tongji University (Jiading Campus), 4800 Caoan Road, Shanghai 201804, Chinasuzhou@tongji.edu.cn

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 8(1), 011010 (Nov 03, 2010) (24 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4001021 History: Received October 02, 2009; Revised October 16, 2009; Published November 03, 2010; Online November 03, 2010

The thermal transport phenomena and mechanical effects due to thermal-inertia loading during start-up/shut-down operations in a 3D proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) stack in a subfreezing environment are studied in this paper. Under the protection of a specific heat insulator, we investigate the time consumption problem due to thermal transport during the heating-startup/cooling-shutdown processes in order to find a way to normally restart PEMFC stack without regard to the electrochemical reaction. On the other hand, the mechanical effects due to thermal-inertia loading are illustrated as well for PEMFC stack in subfreezing environment. In the numerical simulations, we design a combined finite element/upwind finite-volume discretization to approximate the thermal transport equation for different cases of thermal transport process and a finite element approximation to solve the displacement fields of thermal/inertia-induced mechanical problem for a 3D PEMFC stack. The numerical results provide the rational guidance to preserve heat in PEMFC stack in order to start fast before electrochemical reactions occur and prevent the stack from interior and exterior mechanical damages. The optimization design for the material of PEMFC stack to reduce the remarkable mechanical effects due to inertia loading is presented as well.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Schematic domain of 3D PEMFC

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Figure 2

Control volume Ω1 in 2D dual mesh encompassed by broken lines in patch Λ1

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Figure 3

The computational domain the heating-up case

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Figure 4

A small real PEMFC stack with 20 cells and ten channels, which is symmetric about XY-plane and YZ-plane

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Figure 5

Heating-startup case: the initial velocity at inlets (left) and in gas channels (right)

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Figure 6

The history of the minimum temperature of MEA in time in heating-startup case

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Figure 7

Temperature contour of heating-startup case: global field on PEMFC stack and heat insulator (left); local field on PEMFC stack only (right)

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Figure 8

Temperature contour of heating-startup case on the side of outlet of PEMFC stack

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Figure 9

The computational domain of the cooling-down case

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Figure 10

The history of the minimum temperature of MEA in time in naturally cooling-shutdown case

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Figure 11

Temperature contour of naturally cooling-shutdown case

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Figure 12

Profiles of velocity of vehicle and temperature of PEMFC stack with respect to time, where p1–p5 are critical time points

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Figure 13

A small real PEMFC stack with ten cells and ten channels for simulations of mechanical effects

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Figure 14

Temperature field at p1

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Figure 15

X-displacement field with thermal loading only at p1

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Y-displacement field with thermal loading only at p1

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Z-displacement field with thermal loading only at p1

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X-displacement field with thermal loading only at p2

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Y-displacement field with thermal loading only at p2

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Z-displacement field with thermal loading only at p2

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Figure 21

X-displacement field with speedup-inertia loading only at p2

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Figure 22

Y-displacement field with speedup-inertia loading only at p2

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Z-displacement field with speedup-inertia loading only at p2

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Figure 24

X-displacement field with accidental collision loading only at p2 where a=(−10,5,2)

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Figure 25

Y-displacement field with accidental collision loading only at p2 where a=(−10,5,2)

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Figure 26

Z-displacement field with accidental collision loading only at p2 where a=(−10,5,2)

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Figure 27

X-displacement field with thermal/speedup-inertia/collision loading at p2

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Figure 28

Y-displacement field with thermal/speedup-inertia/collision loading at p2

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Figure 29

Z-displacement field with thermal/speedup-inertia/collision loading at p2

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Figure 30

X-displacement field with slowdown-inertia loading only at p4

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Figure 31

Y-displacement field with slowdown-inertia loading only at p4

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Z-displacement field with slowdown-inertia loading only at p4

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Figure 33

X-displacement field with accidental collision loading only at p4 where a=(−20,−10,5)

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Figure 34

Y-displacement field with accidental collision loading only at p4 where a=(−20,−10,5)

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Figure 35

Z-displacement field with accidental collision loading only at p4 where a=(−20,−10,5)

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Figure 36

X-displacement field with thermal/slowdown-inertia/collision loading at p4

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Figure 37

Y-displacement field with thermal/slowdown-inertia/collision loading at p4

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Figure 38

Z-displacement field with thermal/slowdown-inertia/collision loading at p4

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Figure 39

X-displacement field with thermal loading only at p5

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Figure 40

Y-displacement field with thermal loading only at p5

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Figure 41

Z-displacement field with thermal loading only at p5

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Figure 42

X-displacement field for an optimal material with slowdown-inertia loading only at p5 on the lower half stack

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Figure 43

Y-displacement field for an optimal material with slowdown-inertia loading only at p5 on the lower half stack

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Figure 44

Z-displacement field for an optimal material with slowdown-inertia loading only at p5 on the lower half stack

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