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Frontiers in Energy >> 2007, Volume 1, Issue 3 doi: 10.1007/s11708-007-0044-4

Numerical simulation of three-dimensional gas/liquid two-phase flow in a proton exchange membrane fuel cell

1.Department of Automotive Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China; 2.Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Dalian 116023, China;

Available online: 2007-09-05

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Investigation into the formation and transport of liquid water in proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) is the key to fuel cell water management. A three-dimensional gas/liquid two-phase flow and heat transfer model is developed based on the multiphase mixture theory. The reactant gas flow, diffusion, and chemical reaction as well as the liquid water transport and phase change process are modeled. Numerical simulations on liquid water distribution and its effects on the performance of a PEMFC are conducted. Results show that liquid water distributes mostly in the cathode, and predicted cell performance decreases quickly at high current density due to the obstruction of liquid water to oxygen diffusion. The simulation results agree well with experimental data.

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