Simplified Model to Predict Incipient Flooding/Dehydration in Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells

[+] Author and Article Information
S. Maharudrayya1

Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT-Madras, Chennai 600 036, India

S. Jayanti2

Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT-Madras, Chennai 600 036, Indiasjayanti@iitm.ac

A. P. Deshpande

Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT-Madras, Chennai 600 036, India


Currently at Technology & Innovation Centre, Larsen & Toubro Ltd., EPC Centre, Vadodara, India.


Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 4(3), 357-364 (May 19, 2006) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2744055 History: Received July 25, 2005; Revised May 19, 2006

Proper water management is critical for near-ambient temperature operation of a fuel cell. A simplified water balance model has been developed to predict when incipient flooding/dehydration may take place. The present model is based on multicomponent diffusion in the electrodes and molar balance in the flow channels. The overall model is in the form of a closed-form expression for the critical or threshold or balance current density at which the water production rate and the water vapor evacuation rate are exactly balanced. The model incorporates the influence of the operating conditions, properties of electrodes, and flow and geometric parameters in the gas channels on the balance current density. Predictions from the model of the state—incipient flooding or dehydration—of operation of the fuel cell agree well with the available experimental data. Using the model, a parametric study has been conducted over a range of parameters.

Copyright © 2007 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Schematic diagram of transport phenomena affecting water balance in a PEM fuel cell

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Figure 2

Typical variation of balance current density with airflow rate

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Figure 3

Comparison of balance current density obtained from present model (solid lines) and Bernardi (27) model (symbols)

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Figure 4

Variation of Ibal with airflow rates at different hydrogen flow rates

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Figure 5

Variation of Ibal with airflow rates at different inlet relative humidities

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Figure 6

Variation of Ibal with airflow rates at different operating temperatures



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