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Multiphase Simulations and Design of Validation Experiments for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells

[+] Author Affiliations
Torsten Berning

Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark

Paper No. FEDSM2013-16524, pp. V01CT26A007; 8 pages
  • ASME 2013 Fluids Engineering Division Summer Meeting
  • Volume 1C, Symposia: Gas-Liquid Two-Phase Flows; Industrial and Environmental Applications of Fluid Mechanics; Issues and Perspectives in Automotive Flows; Liquid-Solids Flows; Multiscale Methods for Multiphase Flow; Noninvasive Measurements in Single and Multiphase Flows; Numerical Methods for Multiphase Flow; Transport Phenomena in Energy Conversion From Clean and Sustainable Resources; Transport Phenomena in Materials Processing and Manufacturing Processes; Transport Phenomena in Mixing; Turbulent Flows: Issues and Perspectives
  • Incline Village, Nevada, USA, July 7–11, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: Fluids Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5556-0
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


Proton exchange membrane fuel cells directly convert into electricity the chemical energy of hydrogen and oxygen from air. The by-products are just water and waste heat. Depending on the operating conditions the water may be in the liquid or gas phase, and liquid water can hence plug the porous media in the fuel cell, and, more importantly, the flow channels and outlet ports of a single cell in a stack. These problems may be avoided if the fuel cell operates in a way that both the anode and cathode outlet stream are exactly fully humidified, i.e. the relative humidity is at 100 %. Such operation can conceivably be obtained by adjusting the operating conditions using dew point diagrams. In this paper numerical results will be presented of two different flow field arrangements, both using the interdigitated flow field. It will be shown that arranging the gas streams in a counter-flow, “x-flow” modus is the preferred option. Moreover, a detailed analysis of the preferred channel width and land area shows that the finest pitch is predicted to yield the highest membrane hydration levels and is thus preferred.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME



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