Pore scale 3D modelling of heat and mass transfer in the gas diffusion layer and cathode channel of a PEM fuel cell

Kopanidis, A., Theodorakakos, A., Gavaises, M. & Bouris, D. (2011). Pore scale 3D modelling of heat and mass transfer in the gas diffusion layer and cathode channel of a PEM fuel cell. International Journal of Thermal Sciences, 50(4), pp. 456-467. doi: 10.1016/j.ijthermalsci.2010.11.014

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Abstract

Flooding of the gas diffusion layer (GDL) of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells can be a bottleneck to the system’s efficiency and even durability under certain operating conditions. Due to the small scale and complex geometry of the materials involved, detailed insight into the pore scale phenomena that take place are difficult to measure or simulate. In the present effort, a direct 3D microscale model of a portion of the PEM cathode channel and carbon cloth GDL is used to parametrically investigate local heat and fluid flow at the GDL’s pore scale and their effects on condensation of water vapour that leads to flooding. The 3D simulation through the microscale geometry is among the first appearing in the international literature. The Navier–Stokes, energy and water vapour transport equations are solved at steady state and in three-dimensional space for a range of inlet velocities and cloth fibre material properties, using a conjugate heat transfer approach to calculate the temperature field within the solid fibres. Psychrometric calculations are applied to provide indications of the conditions and areas most prone to condensation based on the calculated local temperatures and water vapour concentration.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2011, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Uncontrolled Keywords: PEM fuel cell; CFD; Carbon cloth; Pore scale geometry; Water vapour transport
Subjects: T Technology > TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery
Divisions: School of Engineering & Mathematical Sciences > Engineering
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/13586

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