Modelling the effect of inhomogeneous compression of GDL on local transport phenomena in a PEM fuel cell

I. Nitta (Corresponding Author), S. Karvonen, Olli Himanen, M. Mikkola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

43 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 - 2008
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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Diffusion in gases
Proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC)
Current density
Contact resistance
Deterioration
Fuel cells
Flow fields
Durability
Mass transfer
Polarization
Membranes
Temperature

Keywords

  • Gas diffusion layer
  • Inhomogeneous compression
  • Mathematical model
  • PEM fuel cell

Cite this

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title = "Modelling the effect of inhomogeneous compression of GDL on local transport phenomena in a PEM fuel cell",
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.",
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Modelling the effect of inhomogeneous compression of GDL on local transport phenomena in a PEM fuel cell. / Nitta, I. (Corresponding Author); Karvonen, S.; Himanen, Olli; Mikkola, M.

In: Fuel Cells, Vol. 8, No. 6, 2008, p. 410-421.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Modelling the effect of inhomogeneous compression of GDL on local transport phenomena in a PEM fuel cell

AU - Nitta, I.

AU - Karvonen, S.

AU - Himanen, Olli

AU - Mikkola, M.

PY - 2008

Y1 - 2008

N2 - 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.

AB - 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.

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KW - Inhomogeneous compression

KW - Mathematical model

KW - PEM fuel cell

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JO - Fuel Cells

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SN - 1615-6846

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