Modelling the Effects of using Gas Diffusion Layers with Patterned Wettability for Advanced Water Management in Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells

[+] Author and Article Information
Jaka Dujc

Institute of Computational Physics (ICP)

Antoni Forner-Cuenca

Electrochemistry Laboratory (LEC)

Philip Marmet

Institute of Computational Physics (ICP)

Magali Cochet

Electrochemistry Laboratory (LEC)

Roman Vetter

Institute of Computational Physics (ICP)

Juergen Schumacher

Institute of Computational Physics (ICP), Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), 8401 Winterthur, Switzerland

Boillat Pierre

Electrochemistry Laboratory (LEC), Neutron Imaging and Activation Group (NIAG), Paul Scherrer Institute, 5232 Villigen PSI, Switzerland

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4038626 History: Received June 21, 2016; Revised August 21, 2017


We present a macrohomogeneous two-phase model of a proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). The model takes into account the mechanical compression of the gas diffusion layer (GDL), the two-phase flow of water, the transport of the gas species and the electrochemical reaction of the reactant gases. The model was used to simulate the behavior of a PEMFC with a patterned GDL. The results of the reduced model, which considers only the mechanical compression and the two-phase flow, are compared to the experimental ex-situ imbibition data obtained by neutron radiography imaging. The results are in good agreement. Additionally, by using all model features, a simulation of an operating fuel cell has been performed to study the intricate couplings in an operating fuel cell and to examine the patterned GDL effects. The model confirms that the patterned GDL design liberates the pre-defined domains from liquid water and thus locally increases the oxygen diffusivity.

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