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Title: Advanced control of liquid water region in diffusion media of polymer electrolyte fuel cells through a dimensionless number

In the present study, a three-dimension (3-D) model of polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs) is employed to investigate the complex, non-isothermal, two-phase flow in the gas diffusion layer (GDL). Phase change in gas flow channels is explained, and a simplified approach accounting for phase change is incorporated into the fuel cell model. It is found that the liquid water contours in the GDL are similar along flow channels when the channels are subject to two-phase flow. Here, analysis is performed on a dimensionless parameter Da 0 introduced in our previous paper and the parameter is further evaluated in a realistic fuel cell. We found that the GDL's liquid water (or liquid-free) region is determined by the Da 0 number which lumps several parameters, including the thermal conductivity and operating temperature. By adjusting these factors, a liquid-free GDL zone can be created even though the channel stream is two-phase flow. Such a liquid-free zone is adjacent to the two-phase region, benefiting local water management, namely avoiding both severe flooding and dryness.
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [2]
  1. The Univ. of California, Irvine, CA (United States)
  2. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-CA), Livermore, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0378-7753; 650076
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Power Sources
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 315; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0378-7753
Research Org:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-CA), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Fuel Cell Technologies Office (EE-3F)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; 30 DIRECT ENERGY CONVERSION; polymer electrolyte fuel cells; phase change; non-isothermal; liquid water region; dimensionless number
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1341181