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Research Paper

Uniformity Analysis in Different Flow-Field Configurations of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell

[+] Author and Article Information
Yok-Sheung Li

Department of Civil and Structural Engineering,
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University,
Kowloon, Hong Kong 00852, China

Yi Han

Department of Civil and Structural Engineering,
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University,
Kowloon, Hong Kong 00852, China;
Department of Applied Mechanics and Engineering,
SunYat-sen University,
Guangzhou 510275, China

Jie-Min Zhan

Department of Applied Mechanics and Engineering,
SunYat-sen University,
Guangzhou 510275, China
e-mail: stszjm@mail.sysu.edu.cn;
cejmzhan@gmail.com

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF FUEL CELL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received May 1, 2012; final manuscript received February 2, 2013; published online May 14, 2013. Editor: Nigel M. Sammes.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 10(3), 031003 (May 14, 2013) (10 pages) Paper No: FC-12-1035; doi: 10.1115/1.4024252 History: Received May 01, 2012; Revised February 02, 2013

Knowledge of the distributions of various properties within a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell is a prerequisite for the improvement of cell performance, stability, and durability. In this paper, statistical tools are employed to investigate the variations of the current density, membrane water content, and local temperature in six flow-field configurations of PEM fuel cells, utilizing a three-dimensional two-phase multicomponent model. Under the same operating conditions, although the polarizations of the cells are similar, the results show that the extent of the uniformity of different physical properties varies in different flow-field configurations. Due to the proper distributions of reactants, the current density, membrane water content, and temperature in channel-perpendicular flow-fields are distributed more uniformly than in channel-overlapping ones. Furthermore, for all flow-field configurations, the three physical properties showed better uniformity in cases with fewer cathodic serpentine channels than in cases with more channels. These results reveal that a uniformity analysis using statistical tools is useful for a comparison of the merits of different configurations of PEM fuel cells.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

(a) Definition of the channel assembled angle, (b) 1-channel serpentine flow-field pattern, (c) 2-channel serpentine flow-field pattern, and (d) 3-channel serpentine flow-field pattern

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Fig. 2

Comparison of the experimental and simulated polarization curves

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Fig. 3

Polarization and power density curves of the six flow-fields

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Fig. 4

Standard deviation of the current density on the membrane surface

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Fig. 5

Current density (A cm−2) distributions on the membrane surface at Iavg = 700 mA cm−2

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Fig. 6

Current density (A cm−2) distributions on the membrane surface at Iavg = 1000 mA cm−2

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Fig. 7

Maximum difference of the current density on the membrane surface

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Fig. 8

(a) Average membrane water content of the six flow-fields, and (b) standard deviation of the membrane water content of the six flow-fields

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Fig. 9

Membrane water content distributions on the membrane surface at Iavg = 1000 mA cm−2

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Fig. 10

(a) Average temperature on the anode membrane surface of the six flow-fields, and (b) standard deviation of the temperature on the anode membrane surface of the six flow-fields

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Fig. 11

Local temperature (K) distributions on the anode membrane surface at Iavg = 1000 mA cm−2

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