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Energies 2010, 3(5), 920-939; doi:10.3390/en3050920

A Transient Model for Fuel Cell Cathode-Water Propagation Behavior inside a Cathode after a Step Potential

1
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, Lee-Ming Institute of Technology, Taishan, Taipei, Taiwan
2
Department of Energy and Resources, National United University, Maioli, Taiwan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 March 2010 / Revised: 21 April 2010 / Accepted: 26 April 2010 / Published: 30 April 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fuel Cells)
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Abstract

Most of the voltage losses of proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC) are due to the sluggish kinetics of oxygen reduction on the cathode and the low oxygen diffusion rate inside the flooded cathode. To simulate the transient flooding in the cathode of a PEMFC, a transient model was developed. This model includes the material conservation of oxygen, vapor, water inside the gas diffusion layer (GDL) and micro-porous layer (MPL), and the electrode kinetics in the cathode catalyst layer (CL). The variation of hydrophobicity of each layer generated a wicking effect that moves water from one layer to the other. Since the GDL, MPL, and CL are made of composite materials with different hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties, a linear function of saturation was used to calculate the wetting contact angle of these composite materials. The balance among capillary force, gas/liquid pressure, and velocity of water in each layer was considered. Therefore, the dynamic behavior of PEMFC, with saturation transportation taken into account, was obtained in this study. A step change of the cell voltage was used to illustrate the transient phenomena of output current, water movement, and diffusion of oxygen and water vapor across the entire cathode.
Keywords: transient model; fuel cell; cathode; flooding transient model; fuel cell; cathode; flooding
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Chan, D.-S.; Hsueh, K.-L. A Transient Model for Fuel Cell Cathode-Water Propagation Behavior inside a Cathode after a Step Potential. Energies 2010, 3, 920-939.

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