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Research Papers

The Effects of Membrane Properties and Structural Parameters on the Non-Minimum Phase Behavior of the PEM Fuel Cell Humidification System

[+] Author and Article Information
John F. Hall, Christine A. Mecklenborg, Clay S. Hearn

Department of Mechanical Engineering,  University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712

Dongmei Chen1

Department of Mechanical Engineering,  University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712dmchen@mail.utexas.edu

1

Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 9(1), 011005 (Dec 19, 2011) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4003752 History: Received January 16, 2010; Revised January 16, 2010; Published December 19, 2011; Online December 19, 2011

The water vapor transfer across a Nafion® membrane exhibits an undesired non-minimum phase behavior. This paper will show that even in the disturbance-to-output loop, the non-minimum phase zero adversely affects the feedback controller design because of the coupling effect between the disturbance-to-output and the input-to-output loops. The non-minimum phase zero location is influenced by the channel plate structure and the membrane material property. The structural parameters examined in this research include channel plate dimensions and heat transfer coefficients. The membrane properties studied include membrane vapor transfer properties described in the Arrhenius’ equation. A governing equation to link the non-minimum phase zero and the parameters is developed in this paper. This equation shows that the non-minimum phase zero arises from the competing heat and mass transfer dynamics, and is determined by the structural parameters and membrane properties. A sensitivity study is presented and shows that structural and material property optimization can be used with the control system design to mitigate the non-minimum phase behavior in the PEM fuel cell humidification system.

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Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Membrane humidification system

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Figure 2

Membrane humidifier

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Figure 3

Membrane humidifier experiments setup

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Figure 4

NMP behavior of the RH at the outlet when the inlet air flow changes

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Figure 5

Control block diagram

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Figure 6

Root locus plot of the humidifier open-loop system

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Figure 7

Root locus plots of open-loop systems with the NMP zero arbitrarily moved toward (a) and away from (b) the origin by changing the system design parameters

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