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Open AccessArticle

Investigation of Two-Phase Flow in a Hydrophobic Fuel-Cell Micro-Channel

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Faculty of Physics Laboratory of Theoretical and Applied Fluid Mechanics, University of Science and Technology Houari Boumediene, B.P. 32, El-Alia, Alger 16111, Algeria
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GEPEA, CNRS, ONIRIS, Nantes University, UMR 6144, 37, Bd de l’Université, BP 406, 44602 Saint-Nazaire, France
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Faculty of Electronics Laboratory Image Processing and Radiation, University of Science and Technology Houari Boumediene, B.P. 32, El-Alia, Alger 16111, Algeria
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Faculty of Mathematics USTHB, University of Science and Technology Houari Boumediene, B.P. 32, El-Alia, Alger 16111, Algeria
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Institute for Integrated Energy Systems & Department Mechanical Engineering, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC V8W 3P6, Canada
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Energies 2019, 12(11), 2061; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12112061
Received: 18 April 2019 / Revised: 10 May 2019 / Accepted: 22 May 2019 / Published: 29 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Fundamentals and Conversion)
This paper presents a quantitative visualization study and a theoretical analysis of two-phase flow relevant to polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) in which liquid water management is critical to performance. Experiments were conducted in an air-flow microchannel with a hydrophobic surface and a side pore through which water was injected to mimic the cathode of a PEMFC. Four distinct flow patterns were identified: liquid bridge (plug), slug/plug, film flow, and water droplet flow under small Weber number conditions. Liquid bridges first evolve with quasi-static properties while remaining pinned; after reaching a critical volume, bridges depart from axisymmetry, block the flow channel, and exhibit lateral oscillations. A model that accounts for capillarity at low Bond number is proposed and shown to successfully predict the morphology, critical liquid volume and evolution of the liquid bridge, including deformation and complete blockage under specific conditions. The generality of the model is also illustrated for flow conditions encountered in the manipulation of polymeric materials and formation of liquid bridges between patterned surfaces. The experiments provide a database for validation of theoretical and computational methods. View Full-Text
Keywords: PEM fuel cell; two-phase flow; liquid bridge; visualization; mathematical modeling PEM fuel cell; two-phase flow; liquid bridge; visualization; mathematical modeling
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ibrahim-Rassoul, N.; Si-Ahmed, E.-K.; Serir, A.; Kessi, A.; Legrand, J.; Djilali, N. Investigation of Two-Phase Flow in a Hydrophobic Fuel-Cell Micro-Channel. Energies 2019, 12, 2061.

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