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A Novel Piezoelectrically Actuated Microvalve for Flow Control in a PEM Fuel Cell

[+] Author Affiliations
Jeffrey S. Vipperman, A. Fatih Ayhan, William W. Clark

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

Jimmy D. Thornton, Randall S. Gemmen

U.S. Department of Energy, Morgantown, WV

Paper No. IMECE2002-39320, pp. 497-505; 9 pages
  • ASME 2002 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Microelectromechanical Systems
  • New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, November 17–22, 2002
  • Conference Sponsors: Microelectromechanical Systems
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3642-8 | eISBN: 0-7918-1691-5, 0-7918-1692-3, 0-7918-1693-1
  • Copyright © 2002 by ASME


A novel axial-flow piezoelectric microvalve for fuel cell applications has been designed and analyzed. Microvalves offer to improve flow maldistribution problems that have been identified in fuel cells. This paper will outline the design of an embeddable microvalve that has many novel features, including an axial flow characteristic, piezoelectric trimorph actuation mechanism, unlimited scalability, thermally-insensitive activation, and relative simplicity. Detailed electro-mechanical, thermal, and fluidic analyses of the design are conducted using ANSYS and MATLAB simulation packages. The valve geometry is heuristically optimized based upon the results of the analyses. Fabrication and testing of the valve is currently underway.

Copyright © 2002 by ASME



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