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Research Papers

Effects of Cooling Passages and Nanofluid Coolant on Thermal Performance of Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells

[+] Author and Article Information
Mostafa Kordi

Faculty of Mechanical Engineering,
Shahrood University of Technology,
Shahrood 3619995161, Iran

Ali Jabari Moghadam

Faculty of Mechanical Engineering,
Shahrood University of Technology,
P.O. Box 316,
Shahrood 3619995161, Iran
e-mail: jm.ali.project@gmail.com

Ebrahim Afshari

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Faculty of Engineering,
University of Isfahan,
Isfahan 8174673441, Iran

Manuscript received July 20, 2018; final manuscript received November 24, 2018; published online January 22, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Bengt Sunden.

J. Electrochem. En. Conv. Stor. 16(3), 031001 (Jan 22, 2019) (11 pages) Paper No: JEECS-18-1071; doi: 10.1115/1.4042254 History: Received July 20, 2018; Revised November 24, 2018

In this research, cooling of polymer membrane fuel cells by nanofluids is numerically studied. Single-phase homogeneous technique is used to evaluate thermophysical properties of the water/Al2O3 nanofluid as a function of temperature and nanoparticle concentration. Four cooling plates together with four various fluids (with different nanoparticle concentrations) are considered for cooling fuel cells. The impact of geometry, Reynolds number, and concentration is investigated on some imperative parameters such as surface temperature uniformity and pressure drop. The results reveal that, among different cooling plates, the multipass serpentine flow field has the best performance. It is also proved that the use of nanofluid, in general, enhances the cooling process and significantly improves those parameters directly affecting the fuel cell performance and efficiency. By increasing the nanoparticle concentration by 0.006, the temperature uniformity index will decrease about 13%, the minimum and maximum temperature difference at the cooling plate surface will decrease about 13%, and the pressure drop will increase about 35%. Nanofluids can improve thermal characteristics of cooling systems and consequently enhance the efficiency and durability of fuel cells.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Comparison of convection coefficient of the present study with Ref. [27] for (a) Re=870 and (b) Re=1131

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Fig. 2

Various designs of cooling plates

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Fig. 3

Boundary conditions for model B

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Fig. 4

Effect of number of network cells on the results of model A for Re=404

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Fig. 5

Temperature distribution (°C) at the symmetry plane for φ=0.6% and Re=45 for C and Re=404 for A, B, and D

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Fig. 6

Temperature distribution (°C) at the symmetry plane for φ=1.8% and Re=67 for C and Re=606 for A, B, and D

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Fig. 7

Pressure variations (Pa) at the cooling plate channels for φ=0.6% and Re=45 for C and Re=404 for A, B, and D

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Fig. 8

Variations of nanofluid viscosity (Pa⋅s) at the middle plane of the cooling plates for φ=0.6% and Re=45 for C and Re=404 for A, B, and D

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Fig. 9

Temperature uniformity index versus Reynolds number for models (a) A, (b) B, (c) C, and (d) D

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Fig. 10

Max. and Min. temperature difference versus Reynolds number for models (a) A, (b) B, (c) C, and (d) D

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Fig. 11

Pressure drop versus Reynolds number for models (a) A, (b) B, (c) C, and (d) D

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Fig. 12

Comparison of (a) Ut, (b) ΔT, and (c) Δp in all models; Re=56 for model C and Re=505 for the others

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