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Mathematical Modeling of Transport Phenomena in Polymer Electrolyte and Direct Methanol Fuel Cells
KTH, Superseded Departments, Mechanics.
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

This thesis deals with modeling of two types of fuel cells:the polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) and the directmethanol fuel cell (DMFC), for which we address four majorissues: a) mass transport limitations; b) water management(PEFC); c) gas management (DMFC); d) thermal management.

Four models have been derived and studied for the PEFC,focusing on the cathode. The first exploits the slenderness ofthe cathode for a two-dimensional geometry, leading to areduced model, where several nondimensional parameters capturethe behavior of the cathode. The model was extended to threedimensions, where four di.erent flow distributors were studiedfor the cathode. A quantitative comparison shows that theinterdigitated channels can sustain the highest currentdensities. These two models, comprising isothermal gasphaseflow, limit the studies to (a). Returning to a two-dimensionalgeometry of the PEFC, the liquid phase was introduced via aseparate flow model approach for the cathode. In addition toconservation of mass, momentum and species, the model wasextended to consider simultaneous charge and heat transfer forthe whole cell. Di.erent thermal, flow fields, and hydrodynamicconditions were studied, addressing (a), (b) and (d). A scaleanalysis allowed for predictions of the cell performance priorto any computations. Good agreement between experiments with asegmented cell and the model was obtained.

A liquid-phase model, comprising conservation of mass,momentum and species, was derived and analyzed for the anode ofthe DMFC. The impact of hydrodynamic, electrochemical andgeometrical features on the fuel cell performance were studied,mainly focusing on (a). The slenderness of the anode allows theuse of a narrow-gap approximation, leading to a reduced model,with benefits such as reduced computational cost andunderstanding of the physical trends prior to any numericalcomputations. Adding the gas-phase via a multiphase mixtureapproach, the gas management (c) could also be studied.Experiments with a cell, equipped with a transparent end plate,allowed for visualization of the flow in the anode, as well asvalidation of the two-phase model. Good agreement betweenexperiments and the model was achieved.

Keywords:Fuel cell; DMFC; PEFC; one-phase; two-phase;model; visual cell; segmented cell; scale analysis; asymptoticanalysis.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Mekanik , 2004. , vii, 42 p.
Trita-MEK, ISSN 0348-467X ; 2004:02
Keyword [en]
Fuel Cell, DMFC, PEFC, model, visual cell, scale analysis, one-phase, two-phase
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-3692OAI: diva2:9530
Public defence
2004-02-04, 00:00
Available from: 2004-02-02 Created: 2004-02-02 Last updated: 2012-03-19

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