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A Numerical Model to Simulate Diffuse Effects in Microfluidic Fuel Cells

[+] Author Affiliations
Isaac B. Sprague, Prashanta Dutta

Washington State University, Pullman, WA

Paper No. IMECE2010-38735, pp. 909-916; 8 pages
  • ASME 2010 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 5: Energy Systems Analysis, Thermodynamics and Sustainability; NanoEngineering for Energy; Engineering to Address Climate Change, Parts A and B
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, November 12–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4429-8
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


A 2D numerical model is developed for a laminar flow fuel cell considering ion transport and the electric double layer around the electrodes. The Frumkin-Butler-Volmer equation is used for the fuel cell kinetics. The finite volume method is used to form algebraic equations from governing partial differential equations. The numerical solution was obtained using Newton’s method and a block TDMA solver. The model accounts for the coupling of charged ion transport with the electric field and is able to fully resolve the diffuse regions of the electric double layer in both the stream-wise and cross-channel directions. Different operating phenomena, such as laminar flow separation and the development of the depletion boundary layers and electric double layers are obtained. These numerical results demonstrate the model’s ability to capture the complex behavior of a microfluidic fuel cell which has been ignored in previous 1D models.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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