Research Papers

Channel Geometry Effect for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell With Serpentine Flow Field Using a Three-Dimensional Two-Phase Model

[+] Author and Article Information
Xiao-Dong Wang, Xin-Xin Zhang

Department of Thermal Engineering, School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Science and Technology Beijing, Beijing 100083, China

Tao Liu

Department of Engineering and Materials Science, National Natural Science Foundation of China, Beijing 100085, China

Yuan-Yuan Duan

Key Laboratory for Thermal Science and Power Engineering of Ministry of Education, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China

Wei-Mon Yan1

Department of Mechatronic Engineering, Huafan University, Taipei 22305, Taiwanwmyan@huafan.hfu.edu.tw

Duu-Jong Lee

Department of Chemical Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taipei 106, Taiwan


Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 7(5), 051019 (Jul 20, 2010) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4000849 History: Received September 11, 2008; Revised September 23, 2009; Published July 20, 2010; Online July 20, 2010

This study presents a complete three-dimensional, two-phase transport model for proton exchange membrane fuel cells based on the two-fluid method, which couples the mass, momentum, species, and electrical potential equations. The different liquid water transport mechanisms in the flow channels, gas diffusion layers, catalyst layers, and membrane are modeled using two different liquid water transport equations. In the flow channels, gas diffusion layers, and catalyst layers, the generalized Richards equation is used to describe the liquid water transport including the effect of the pressure gradient, capillary diffusion, evaporation and condensation, and electro-osmotic, while in the membrane, the liquid water transport equation only takes into account the effect of back diffusion and electro-osmotic. Springer’s model is utilized on the catalyst layer-membrane interface to maintain continuum of the liquid water distribution. The model is used to investigate the effect of flow channel aspect ratio on the performance of fuel cells with single and triple serpentine flow fields. The predictions show that for both flow fields, the cell performance improves with decreasing aspect ratio. The aspect ratio has less effect on the cell performance for the triple serpentine flow field than for the single serpentine flow field due to the weaker under-rib convection.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Schematics of the single and triple serpentine flow fields on the cathode side of the PEM fuel cells: (a) single serpentine; (b) triple serpentine

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Figure 2

Influence of the number of elements on the local current densities

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Figure 3

Comparison of experimental and predicted polarization curves

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Figure 4

Polarization curves for PEM fuel cells with various cathode flow channel aspect ratios: (a) single serpentine flow field; (b) triple serpentine flow field

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Figure 5

Local current density distributions in the middle cross section in the PEM for various cathode flow channel aspect ratios: (a) single serpentine flow field; (b) triple serpentine flow field

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Figure 6

Liquid water distributions along the cathode gas diffusion layer-catalyst layer interface for various cathode flow channel aspect ratios: (a) single serpentine flow field; (b) triple serpentine flow field

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Figure 7

Cathode pressure drops of PEM fuel cells for various cathode flow channel aspect ratios



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