Estimates of pressure gradients in PEMFC gas channels due to blockage by static liquid drops

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International Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Numerical analyses are presented to explain the effect of drop size and contact angle on local pressures inside small channels. These pressures and channel characteristics are of
interest when water condenses in the gas channels of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells and hence the study uses Reynolds numbers consistent with as typical utilization of
reacting gases in 200 cm2 flow fields (i.e., 200 < Re < 1500 and stoichiometries of 1.2–2.0 at 1.0 A/cm2). The analyses were performed using three-dimensional computational fluid dynamic techniques and the results show that pressure drops are minimal until the blockage was greater than 50%. As blockage increased further, due to larger drops or
increased hydrophobicity, pressure drop increased. The results of a stagnant drop are supported by visualization experiments, which show minimal distortion of the drop for
these low flow rates, small ratios, and hydrophobic contact angles. Proper scaling parameters and design criteria for microchannels validation experiments are presented.

2009 International Association for Hydrogen Energy
Author Name: 
M. Venkatraman
S. Shimpalee
J.W. Van Zee
Sung In Moon
C.W. Extrand