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

    Fingerprint

    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

    @article{e3607b85df6d45b4a2c46f351338abd5,
    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.",
    keywords = "PEM fuel cell stack, PEM fuel cell, fuel cells, end plates, compression, modeling",
    author = "Suvi Karvonen and Tero Hottinen and Jari Ihonen and Heidi Uusalo",
    year = "2008",
    doi = "10.1115/1.2930775",
    language = "English",
    volume = "5",
    journal = "Journal of Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Storage",
    issn = "2381-6872",
    publisher = "American Society of Mechanical Engineers ASME",
    number = "4",

    }

    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.

    KW - PEM fuel cell stack

    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 Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Storage

    JF - Journal of Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Storage

    SN - 2381-6872

    IS - 4

    M1 - 041009

    ER -