Modeling of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell stack end plates

Suvi Karvonen, Tero Hottinen, Jari Ihonen, Heidi Uusalo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Good thermal and electric contacts of gas diffusion layers (GDLs) with electrode surface and flow-field plates are important for the performance of a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). These contacts are dependent on the compression pressure applied on the GDL surface. The compression also affects the GDL porosity and permeability, and consequently has an impact on the mass transfer in the GDL. Thus, the compression pressure distribution on the GDL can have a significant effect on the performance and lifetime of a PEMFC stack. Typically, fuel cell stacks are assembled between two end plates, which function as the supporting structure for the unit cells. The rigidity of the stack end plates is crucial to the pressure distribution. In this work, the compression on the GDL with different end plate structures was studied with finite element modeling. The modeling results show that more uniform pressure distributions can be reached if ribbed-plate structures are used instead of the traditional flat plates. Two different materials, steel and aluminum, were compared as end plate materials. With a ribbed aluminum end plate structure and a certain clamping pressure distribution, it was possible to achieve nearly uniform pressure distribution within 10–15 bars. The modeling results were verified with pressure-sensitive film experiments.
Original languageEnglish
Article number041009
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Fuel Cell Science and Technology
Volume5
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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Diffusion in gases
Proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC)
Pressure distribution
Aluminum
Electric contacts
Steel
Rigidity
Fuel cells
Flow fields
Mass transfer
Porosity
Electrodes
Experiments

Keywords

  • PEM fuel cell stack
  • PEM fuel cell
  • fuel cells
  • end plates
  • compression
  • modeling

Cite this

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title = "Modeling of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell stack end plates",
abstract = "Good thermal and electric contacts of gas diffusion layers (GDLs) with electrode surface and flow-field plates are important for the performance of a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). These contacts are dependent on the compression pressure applied on the GDL surface. The compression also affects the GDL porosity and permeability, and consequently has an impact on the mass transfer in the GDL. Thus, the compression pressure distribution on the GDL can have a significant effect on the performance and lifetime of a PEMFC stack. Typically, fuel cell stacks are assembled between two end plates, which function as the supporting structure for the unit cells. The rigidity of the stack end plates is crucial to the pressure distribution. In this work, the compression on the GDL with different end plate structures was studied with finite element modeling. The modeling results show that more uniform pressure distributions can be reached if ribbed-plate structures are used instead of the traditional flat plates. Two different materials, steel and aluminum, were compared as end plate materials. With a ribbed aluminum end plate structure and a certain clamping pressure distribution, it was possible to achieve nearly uniform pressure distribution within 10–15 bars. The modeling results were verified with pressure-sensitive film experiments.",
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Modeling of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell stack end plates. / Karvonen, Suvi; Hottinen, Tero; Ihonen, Jari; Uusalo, Heidi.

In: Journal of Fuel Cell Science and Technology, Vol. 5, No. 4, 041009, 2008.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Modeling of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell stack end plates

AU - Karvonen, Suvi

AU - Hottinen, Tero

AU - Ihonen, Jari

AU - Uusalo, Heidi

PY - 2008

Y1 - 2008

N2 - Good thermal and electric contacts of gas diffusion layers (GDLs) with electrode surface and flow-field plates are important for the performance of a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). These contacts are dependent on the compression pressure applied on the GDL surface. The compression also affects the GDL porosity and permeability, and consequently has an impact on the mass transfer in the GDL. Thus, the compression pressure distribution on the GDL can have a significant effect on the performance and lifetime of a PEMFC stack. Typically, fuel cell stacks are assembled between two end plates, which function as the supporting structure for the unit cells. The rigidity of the stack end plates is crucial to the pressure distribution. In this work, the compression on the GDL with different end plate structures was studied with finite element modeling. The modeling results show that more uniform pressure distributions can be reached if ribbed-plate structures are used instead of the traditional flat plates. Two different materials, steel and aluminum, were compared as end plate materials. With a ribbed aluminum end plate structure and a certain clamping pressure distribution, it was possible to achieve nearly uniform pressure distribution within 10–15 bars. The modeling results were verified with pressure-sensitive film experiments.

AB - Good thermal and electric contacts of gas diffusion layers (GDLs) with electrode surface and flow-field plates are important for the performance of a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). These contacts are dependent on the compression pressure applied on the GDL surface. The compression also affects the GDL porosity and permeability, and consequently has an impact on the mass transfer in the GDL. Thus, the compression pressure distribution on the GDL can have a significant effect on the performance and lifetime of a PEMFC stack. Typically, fuel cell stacks are assembled between two end plates, which function as the supporting structure for the unit cells. The rigidity of the stack end plates is crucial to the pressure distribution. In this work, the compression on the GDL with different end plate structures was studied with finite element modeling. The modeling results show that more uniform pressure distributions can be reached if ribbed-plate structures are used instead of the traditional flat plates. Two different materials, steel and aluminum, were compared as end plate materials. With a ribbed aluminum end plate structure and a certain clamping pressure distribution, it was possible to achieve nearly uniform pressure distribution within 10–15 bars. The modeling results were verified with pressure-sensitive film experiments.

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KW - PEM fuel cell

KW - fuel cells

KW - end plates

KW - compression

KW - modeling

U2 - 10.1115/1.2930775

DO - 10.1115/1.2930775

M3 - Article

VL - 5

JO - Journal of Fuel Cell Science and Technology

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