A 3D model of the fuel cell stack detailed in Table 2 was produced using the commercial FEA package abaqus with the addition of 20 mm thick aluminum endplates. The model considers the influence of the endplates, clamping bolts, gasket, GDL, PEM, and BPP including flow channels. The current collector, reactant manifolds, or coolant channels in the BPP are not accounted for, as these will not significantly affect the contact pressure distribution of the MEA. By applying symmetry in the *x*, *y*, and *z* planes, it is possible to perform calculations on 1/8th of the geometry only, significantly reducing the computational time. The *z* plane symmetry is applied to the middle cell at half of the PEM thickness. Figure 7 shows the simulation geometry for a five-cell stack. The GDL is fixed to the PEM to represent the MEA structure after hot pressing. Contact between all other components is accounted for using the general contact model with a 0.3 tangential coefficient of friction and exponential overclosure contact in the normal direction. Variation of the friction coefficient was seen to have minimal (<1%) effect on the cell contact pressure distribution. Nonlinear behavior of the GDL and gasket was modeled using the hyperelastic material model based on experimental uniaxial compression data [20]. Different mesh seeds were used to account for the variation in geometry between components. The coarsest mesh of 3.0 mm was used for the endplate and the finest mesh seed of 0.5 mm was applied to the PEM and GDL. All components were meshed using hexahedral elements with reduced integration (C3D8R). The number of cells in the fuel cell stack was varied from one to nine, the five-cell stack containing 136,157 elements. Eight bolts of 8 mm diameter were used to apply a compressive load of 1.25 kN per bolt. Figure 8 shows the MEA contact pressure distribution for 1/4 of the end cell in a five-cell stack, and the influence of BPP channel geometry on localized contact pressure can be clearly seen.