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Research Papers

An Analytical Model for Contact Pressure Prediction Considering Dimensional Error of Stamped Bipolar Plate and Gas Diffusion Layer in Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Stack Assembly

[+] Author and Article Information
Linfa Peng, Peiyun Yi

State Key Laboratory of Mechanical
System and Vibration,
Shanghai Jiao Tong University,
Shanghai 200240, China

Diankai Qiu

State Key Laboratory of Mechanical
System and Vibration,
Shanghai Jiao Tong University,
Shanghai 200240, China
e-mail: qdk2009@sjtu.edu.cn

Xinmin Lai

State Key Laboratory of Mechanical
System and Vibration,
Shanghai Jiao Tong University,
Shanghai 200240, China;
Shanghai Key Laboratory of Digital Manufacture
for Thin-Walled Structures,
Shanghai Jiao Tong University,
Shanghai 200240, China
e-mail: xmlai@sjtu.edu.cn

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received February 21, 2016; final manuscript received October 27, 2016; published online November 22, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Umberto Desideri.

J. Electrochem. En. Conv. Stor. 13(2), 021007 (Nov 22, 2016) (10 pages) Paper No: JEECS-16-1028; doi: 10.1115/1.4035099 History: Received February 21, 2016; Revised October 27, 2016

Contact pressure distribution between bipolar plate (BPP) and gas diffusion layer (GDL) has significant impact on performance and life time of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell. Most current studies for contact pressure prediction are based on finite-element analysis (FEA), requiring huge computation for the whole fuel cell assembly. Comparatively speaking, the more generalized and well-developed analytical methods are deficient in this field. The objective of this study is to propose a full-scale continuous equivalent model to predict GDL contact pressure effectively in the PEM fuel cell. Using the model, the nonuniform pressure distribution resulted from dimensional errors of metallic BPP and GDL could be obtained. First, a parameterized theoretical model of BPP/GDL assembly is established based on equivalent stiffness analysis of components, and definition methods of dimensional errors are proposed according to actual measurements and Monte Carlo simulation (MCS). Then, experiments are carried out to obtain the actual GDL contact pressure and the model results show good agreement with experimental results. At last, effects of dimensional errors are investigated. Acceptable assembly pressure for a given fuel cell is suggested based on the model. This model is helpful to understand the effect of the dimensional errors, and it also could be adopted to guide the manufacturing of BPP, GDL, and the assembling of PEM fuel cell.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Schematic of dimensional errors of BPP and GDL in PEM fuel cell

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Fig. 2

Schematic drawing of equivalent process for metallic BPP: (a) metallic BPP and (b) continuous equivalent BPP

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Fig. 3

Laser measurement profiles of metallic BPP: (a) the real BPP, (b) channel-parallel direction measurement, and (c) channel-vertical direction measurement

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Fig. 4

Schematic drawing of compression between GDL–BPP interfaces

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Fig. 5

Experimental testing of contact pressure: (a) the fabricated BPP by stamping process, (b) experimental cell assembly, and (c) drawing of experimental setup

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Fig. 6

Typical experimental results for different GDL from the pressure films: (a) TGP-H-120 GDL and (b) TGP-H-060 GDL

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Fig. 7

Comparison of the experimental pressure distribution and numerical prediction: (a) numerical results and (b) experimental results

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Fig. 8

Comparison of the testing and predicted pressure: (a) contact pressure along line A and (b) contact pressure along line B

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Fig. 9

Histogram for contact pressure under GDL dimensional error σGDL=0.005 mm

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Fig. 10

Statistical analysis of contact pressure distribution under different GDL dimensional errors

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Fig. 11

Effect surface and contour plot of BPP dimensional error: (a) effect surface and (b) contour plot

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Fig. 12

Result surface and contour plot of acceptability rate for fuel cell assembly: (a) result surface and (b) contour plot

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