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Technical Briefs

Experimental Study of Effects of Operating Conditions on Water Transport Phenomena in the Cathode of Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell

[+] Author and Article Information
Sang Hern Seo

 Technology Innovation Support Division, Gyeonggi Regional Small & Medium Business Administration, 651 Gwangsa-dong, Yangju-si, Gyeonggi-do 482-030, Koreashseo@smba.go.kr

Chang Sik Lee1

 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Hanyang University, 17 Haengdang-dong, Sungdong-gu, Seoul 133-791, Koreacslee@hanyang.ac.kr

1

Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 8(6), 064501 (Sep 22, 2011) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4004172 History: Received August 03, 2009; Accepted April 10, 2011; Published September 22, 2011; Online September 22, 2011

Water management in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells is important because fuel cell performance may be lower when flooding emerges. In addition, the proton conductivity and water transport coefficient in the membrane depend on the hydration of the membrane. In this study a water transport phenomenon in the cathode channels of a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell was investigated under various operating conditions. To obtain images of the water the transparent fuel cell had a polycarbonate window installed at the cathode end plate, and gold-coated stainless steel was used for the flow field and current collector of the cathode. The effects of operating conditions on water transport manipulated operating parameters such as cell temperature, cathode flow rate, and cathode backpressure. As the operating time elapsed, it was observed that water droplet formation, growth, coalescence, and removal occurred in the cathode channel. It concluded that a high cathode flow rate prevented flooding by removing water from the cathode flow channel. Also, the quantity of water droplets increased with a high cathode backpressure.

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Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Schematic of the experimental apparatus

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Figure 2

Effect of operating time on the flooding phenomenon in the cathode flow channel (Tcell  = Tah  = Tch  =  313 K, Qa =  70 cm3 /min, Qc =  35 cm3 /min, Pa = Pc =  100 kPa)

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Figure 3

Effect of operating voltage on the flooding phenomenon in the cathode flow channel (Tcell  = Tah  = Tch  =  333 K, Qa =  70 cm3 /min, Qc =  35 cm3 /min, Pa = Pc =  100 kPa, tasof  =  2000 s)

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Figure 4

Effect of cell temperature on the flooding phenomenon in the cathode flow channel (Tcell  = Tah  = Tch , Qa =  70 cm3 /min, Qc =  35 cm3 /min, Pa = Pc =  100 kPa, tasof  =  1000 s)

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Figure 5

Open circuit voltage and current density at 0.4 V according to cell temperature

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Figure 6

Effect of oxygen flow rate on the flooding phenomenon in the cathode flow channel (Tcell  = Tah  = Tch  =  313 K, Qa =  70 cm3 /min, Pa = Pc =  100 kPa, tasof  =  1000 s)

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Figure 7

Open circuit voltage and current density at 0.4 V for various oxygen flow rates

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Figure 8

Effect of humidified temperature on the flooding phenomenon in the cathode flow channel (Tcell  =  313 K, Qa =  70 cm3 /min, Qc =  35 cm3 /min, Pa = Pc =  100 kPa, tasof  =  1000 s)

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Figure 9

Open circuit voltage and current density at 0.4 V depending on humidified temperature

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Figure 10

Effect of cathode backpressure on the flooding phenomenon in the cathode flow channel (Tcell  = Tah  = Tch  =  313 K, Qa =  70 cm3 /min, Qc =  480 cm3 /min, Pa =  100 kPa, tasof  =  1000 s)

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Figure 11

Open circuit voltage and current density at 0.4 V for various cathode backpressures

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Figure 12

Effect of oxygen concentration on the flooding phenomenon in the cathode flow channel (Tcell  = Tah  = Tch  =  313 K, Qa =  70 cm3 /min, Qc =  140 cm3 /min, Pa = Pc =  100 kPa, tasof  =  1000 s)

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