Numerical Investigation on Water Transport in Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells in Different Flow Field Configurations

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Patcharawat Charoen-amornkitt
Nuttapol Limjeerajarus


Water management in a membrane electrode assembly (MEA) is one of the crucial problems which prevents a polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) from a wide-scale commercialization due to its consequent effect on cell durability and degradation. One of the main components of PEFC which directly deals with the water management problems is the reactants gas flow channel (GFC). A well designed GFC must provide a uniform distribution of water concentration which reduces flooding in catalyst layer and gas diffusion layer as well as drying of the membrane. This work highlights the water transport inside the PEFC, including membrane water content and water saturation of three different commercial flow fields, namely single channel serpentine, three channel parallel in series and z-type parallel by using finite volume method via ANSYS FLUENT software. The results indicated that, for a small-scale PEFC, the single channel serpentine was the best flow field among the studied flow fields with the recommended operating voltage of 0.6.


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