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Nonlinear Analysis of Two-Phase Instabilities in PEMFC Parallel-Channel Cathodes

[+] Author Affiliations
Nicholas Siefert, Chi-Hsin Ho, Shawn Litster

Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA

Paper No. FuelCell2010-33116, pp. 67-72; 6 pages
  • ASME 2010 8th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology
  • ASME 2010 8th International Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology Conference: Volume 1
  • Brooklyn, New York, USA, June 14–16, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: Advanced Energy Systems Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4404-5 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3875-4
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


Liquid water management is a critical issue in the development of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells. Liquid water produced electrochemically can accumulate and flood the microchannels in the cathodes of PEM fuel cells. Since the liquid coverage of the cathode can fluctuate in time for two-phase flow, the rate of oxygen transport to the cathode catalyst layer can also fluctuate in time, and this can cause the fuel cell power output to fluctuate. This paper will report experimental data on the voltage loss and the voltage fluctuations of a PEM fuel cell due to flooding as a function of the number of parallel microchannels and the air flow rate stoichiometric ratio. The data was analyzed to identify general scaling relationships between voltage loss and fluctuations and the number of channels in parallel and the air stoichiometric ratio. The voltage loss was found to scale proportionally to the square root of the number of channels divided by the air stoichiometric ratio. The amplitude of the fluctuations was found to be linearly proportional to the number of microchannels and inversely proportional to the air stoichiometric ratio squared. The data was further analyzed by plotting power spectrums and by evaluating the non-linear statistics of the voltage time-series.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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