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Predicting Through-Plane Water Distribution in a Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell

[+] Author Affiliations
Yun Wang

University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA

Ken S. Chen

Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM

Paper No. FuelCell2010-33029, pp. 439-444; 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


In this paper, a two-dimensional (2D) model is presented for simulating the coupled phenomena of gaseous fuel/reactant flows, species (including liquid water) transport, heat transfer, hydrogen oxidation and oxygen reduction reactions in a PEM fuel cell. A 1D analysis is presented to explain the characteristics of water-content profile at the cathode GDL (gas diffusion layer)-MPL (microporous layer) interface and possible reasons for no experimental observation on the characteristics. 2D model predictions are further computed numerically and compared with available experimental data from neutron imaging. Reasonably good agreements are obtained in comparisons between the computed water profiles and the neutron-imaging data. Case-study simulations are carried out for PEM fuel cell operation at various current densities and 40 °C. The results show that the cathode water content increases with the current density, but the anode side exhibits a complex trend at the considered temperature operation: at high current density the anode water content may become lower partly due to the local heating.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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