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Research Papers

A Parametric Study of Bipolar Plate Structural Parameters on the Performance of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell

[+] Author and Article Information
Salar Imanmehr1

n.pormahmod@urmia.ac.ir Mechanical Engineering Department,  Urmia University, Urmia, 57168-53545 IranSalar.Imanmehr@gmail.com

Nader Pourmahmod

n.pormahmod@urmia.ac.ir Mechanical Engineering Department,  Urmia University, Urmia, 57168-53545 Iran

1

Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 9(5), 051003 (Aug 22, 2012) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4006797 History: Received September 12, 2011; Revised April 21, 2012; Published August 22, 2012; Online August 22, 2012

In this research, the impact of structural parameters of bipolar plates on the proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell performance has been investigated using numerical method, and this model incorporates all the essential fundamental physical and electrochemical processes occurring in the membrane electrolyte, cathode catalyst layer, electrode backing, and flow channel, with some assumptions in each part. In formulation of this model, the cell is assumed to work under steady state conditions. Also, since the thickness of the cell is negligible compared to other dimensions, one-dimensional and isothermal approximations are used. The structural parameters considered in this paper are: the width of channels (Wc ), the width of support (Ws ), the number of gas channels (ng ), the height of channels (hc ), and the height of supports (hp ). The results show that structural parameters of bipolar plates have a great impact on outlet voltage in high current densities. Also, the number of gas channels, their surface area, the contacting area of bipolar plates, and electrodes have a great effect on the rate of reaction and consequently on outlet voltage. The model predictions have been compared with the existing experimental results available in the literature, and excellent agreement has been demonstrated between the model results and the experimental data for the cell polarization curve.

Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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References

Figures

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Figure 1

Schematic of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell [19]

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Figure 2

The flow channel plates and electrode of a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell modeled as an equivalent electrical resistance [18]

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Figure 3

Top view of channel showing how dimensions are defined for calculating channel surface area

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Figure 4

Comparisons of numerical results with experimental data [28]

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Figure 5

Voltage versus Wc diagram in Iδ  = 10 000 and ng  = 12

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Figure 6

Voltage and power difference versus current density when Wc changes from 0.003 (m) to 0.00001 (m)

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Figure 7

Polarization curve with different amount of void fraction [27]

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Figure 8

Voltage versus Ws diagram for reference current density = 10,000 (A/m2 ) and ng  = 12

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Figure 9

Voltage and power difference versus current density when Ws changes from 0.0038 (m) to 0.0011 (m)

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Figure 10

Voltage versus ng , current density = 10,000 (A/m2 )

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Figure 11

Voltage versus hc diagram, reference current density = 10,000(A/m2 ), wc  = 0.002 (m), ng  = 12

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Figure 12

Polarization curve for two different sizes of channel height, wc  = 0.002 and ng  = 12

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Figure 13

Voltage versus hp diagram. Current density = 10,000 (A/m2 ), Wc  = 0.002 (m), ng  = 12.

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Figure 14

Voltage and power difference versus current density when hp changes from 0.009 (m) to 0.00001 (m)

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Figure 15

Voltage versus hp and hc , current density = 10,000 (A/m2 ) and ng  = 12

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