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TECHNICAL PAPERS: Heat and Mass Transfer

The Effect of Compressive Load on Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Stack Performance and Behavior

[+] Author and Article Information
N. Fekrazad

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Connecticut Global Fuel Cell Center, University of Connecticut, 191 Auditorium Road, Unit 3139, Storrs, CT 06269

T. L. Bergman1

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Connecticut Global Fuel Cell Center, University of Connecticut, 191 Auditorium Road, Unit 3139, Storrs, CT 06269tberg@engr.uconn.edu

1

Corresponding author.

J. Heat Transfer 129(8), 1004-1013 (Oct 24, 2006) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2728909 History: Received May 25, 2006; Revised October 24, 2006

A two-dimensional model of a proton exchange membrane fuel cell stack is developed. Taking advantage of the geometrical periodicity of the stack, the model is used to predict the detailed thermal and electrochemical characteristics of the fuel cell. Using recently reported as well as new experimental results, the electrical and thermal contact resistances and modifications in the gas diffusion layer transport properties that develop within the stack in response to changes in the compressive force used to assemble the stack are accounted for. The fuel cell stack performance, reported in terms of its power output and internal temperature distributions, is very sensitive to the compressive load.

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Copyright © 2007 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Schematic diagram of: (a) a fuel cell stack; (b) a single cell within the stack; (c) the computational domain; and (d) geometric parameters of the fuel cell elements

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Figure 2

Computational domain and definition of geometrical parameters

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Figure 3

Schematic of the fuel cell experiment

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Figure 4

Comparison of the predicted fuel cell performance with that of Ref. 15

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Figure 5

Internal temperature distribution (K) for the base case operating conditions and Vcell=0.6V. Results are for: (a) internal regions of a stack; (b) a single cell; (c) the entire computational domain; and (d) the GDL and MEA.

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Figure 6

Measured and predicted fuel cell performance

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Figure 7

Temperature distributions (K) in the MEA and GDLs, Vcell=0.6V: (a) PCL=11bar, no contact resistances, Tmax=361.3K at x′=0, y=wL+wCh; (b) PCL=11bar, with contact resistances, Tmax=364.5K at x′=0, y=wL+wCh; (c) PCL=1bar, Tmax=362.0K at x′=0, y=wL+wCh; and (d) PCL≈0, Tmax=360.7K at x′=0, y=0

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Figure 8

(a) Temperature difference along the membrane centerline as a function of the clamping pressure for different operating conditions, I=7050A∕m2; and (b) temperature difference along the membrane as a function of the clamping pressure for different operating conditions, Vcell=0.6V

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Figure 9

Temperature difference along the membrane centerline as a function of the clamping pressure for different channel dimensions, constant current density (I=7050A∕m2), and constant cell potential (Vcell=0.6V)

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Figure 10

Power density and temperature difference along membrane as a function of the clamping pressure for different channel dimensions and different GDL materials, Vcell=0.6V: (a) Sigracet; and (b) Carbel

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Figure 11

Power density and maximum temperature of MEA as a function of the clamping pressure for different channel dimensions and different GDLs, Vcell=0.6V: (a) Sigracet; and (b) Carbel

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Figure 12

Computational mesh

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