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Research Papers

Numerical Simulation for Two-Phase Flows in Fuel Cell Minichannels

[+] Author and Article Information
Jean-Baptiste Dupont

Institut de Mécanique des Fluides de Toulouse, UMR CNRS/INPT/UPS 5502, Allée du Professeur Camille Soula, 31400 Toulouse, Francedupontjb@imft.fr

Dominique Legendre

Institut de Mécanique des Fluides de Toulouse, UMR CNRS/INPT/UPS 5502, Allée du Professeur Camille Soula, 31400 Toulouse, Francelegendre@imft.fr

Anna Maria Morgante

 RENAULT Technocentre, 1 Avenue du Golf, 78288 Guyancourt Cedex, Franceanna-maria.morgante@renault.com

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 8(4), 041008 (Mar 31, 2011) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3176222 History: Received December 09, 2005; Revised April 28, 2006; Published March 31, 2011; Online March 31, 2011

This work presents direct numerical simulations of two-phase flows in fuel cell minichannels. Different two-phase flow configurations can be observed in such minichannels, which depend on gas-flow rate, liquid holdup, and wettability of each wall. These flows are known to have a significant impact on the fuel cell’s performance. The different two-phase flow configurations must be studied specially concerning the prediction of the transition among them. In the fuel cell minichannels, experimental investigations are difficult to perform because of the small size of the device and the difficult control of the wettability properties of the walls. In such systems, numerical approach can provide useful information with a perfect control of the flow characteristics, particularly for the wettability aspect. The numerical code used in this study is the JADIM code developed at IMFT, which is based on a “volume of fluid” method for interface capturing without any interface reconstruction. The numerical description of the surface tension is one of the crucial points in studying such systems where capillary effects control the phase distribution. The static and the dynamics of the triple line between the liquid, the gas, and the wall is also an essential physical mechanism to consider. The numerical implementation of this model is validated in simple situations where analytical solutions are available for the shape and the pressure jump at the interface. In this paper we present the characteristics of the JADIM code and its potential for the studies of the fuel cell internal flows. Numerical simulations on the two-phase flows on walls, in corners, and inside channels are shown.

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Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

(◻) Normalized thickness H∗=H/H0 of a drop at rest on a hydrophilic wall (θcap=50 deg). Numerical simulations: (– – –) Eq. 11 and (–⋅–⋅–) Eq. 12.

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Figure 2

Normalized thickness H∗=H/H0 of a drop on a hydrophobic wall (θcap=130 deg)

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Figure 3

Interface liquid gas at rest between two horizontal walls of different wettabilities (liquid is on the left). The two walls are hydrophilic with θcap=50 deg. ((—) theoretical surface, (– – –) numerical simulation)

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Figure 4

Initial shape and position of the droplet on the GDL in the square section of the channel containing the drop center

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Figure 5

Effect of the channel wall contact angle on the migration of a droplet ((left) θW=50 deg and (right) θW=70 deg). From top to bottom, t=0 s, t=5.39 ms, t=6.37 ms, and t=19.6 ms.

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Figure 6

Effect of the coalescence of two droplets on the migration: (left) migration after coalescence and (right) migration of a droplet of equivalent total volume under the same conditions. From top to bottom, t=0 s, t=0.49 ms, t=0.98 ms, t=1.96 ms, and t=19.6 ms.

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Figure 7

Comparison between visualizations of Yang (3) and present simulation with the JADIM code with θGDL=120 deg and θW=30 deg

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Figure 8

Definition of the flow configuration and the initial condition

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Figure 9

Influence of Reynolds number on the growth rate and comparison with theory ((continuous line) linear theory, (squares) simulations with JADIM )

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Figure 10

Example of an unstable flow and transition between a stratified flow and an intermittent flow at time t∗=0;0,36;0,56;0,67;0,81;1,01

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Figure 11

Evolution of the perturbation amplitude for the case considered (see the text)

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