Modelling the Effect of Inhomogeneous Compression of GDL on Local Transport Phenomena in a PEM Fuel Cell

Iwao Nitta, Suvi Karvonen, Olli Himanen, Mikko Mikkola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The effects of inhomogeneous compression of gas diffusion layers (GDLs) on local transport phenomena, within a polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell were studied theoretically. The inhomogeneous compression induced. by the rib/channel structure of the flow field plate causes partial deformation of the GDLs and significantly affects component parameters. The results suggest that inhomogeneous compression does not significantly affect the polarisation behaviour or gas-phase mass transport. However, the effect of inhomogeneous compression on the current density distribution is evident. Local current density under the channel was substantially smaller than that under the rib when inhomogeneous compression was taken into account, while the current density distribution was fairly uniform for the model which excluded the effect of inhomogeneous compression. This is caused by the changes in the selective current path, which is determined by the combination of conductivities of components and contact resistance between them. Despite the highly uneven current distribution and variation in material parametres as a function of GDL thickness, the temperature profile was relatively even over the active area for both the modelled cases, contrary to predictions in previous studies. However, an abnormally high current density significantly accelerates deterioration of the membrane and is critical in terms of cell durability. Therefore, fuel cells should be carefully designed to minimise the harmful effects of inhomogeneous compression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-421
Number of pages12
JournalFuel Cells
Volume8
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Gas Diffusion Layer
  • Inhomogeneous Compression
  • Mathematical Model
  • PEM Fuel Cell
  • GAS-DIFFUSION-LAYER
  • VALIDATED LEVERETT APPROACH
  • PARAMETER SENSITIVITY EXAMINATION
  • LIQUID WATER TRANSPORT
  • CONTACT RESISTANCE
  • MULTIPHASE FLOW
  • CATALYST LAYER
  • PART I
  • BIPOLAR PLATES
  • MEMBRANE

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