Dynamics of ignition and front propagation in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells

Jay Burton Benziger, I. G. Kevrekidis, E. S J Chia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The stirred tank reactor polymer electrolyte membrane (STR-PEM) fuel cell exhibits remarkable steady state multiplicity analogous to the autocatalytic exothermic stirred tank reactor. The dynamics in the STR-PEM fuel cell are the result of a unique balance between water production and water removal within the cell. Ignition and extinction of the fuel cell current is controlled by the temperature, flow rate and external load resistance of the fuel cell. The STR-PEM fuel cell is used as a building block to approximate more conventional integral (plug flow) type fuel cell reactors. By connecting several STR-PEM fuel cells in series, the effects of the four operating parameters (temperature, external load resistance, inlet hydrogen and inlet oxygen flow rates) on the current evolution along the flow channel of a fuel cell can be monitored. Ignition and extinction fronts propagate along the flow channels of PEM fuel cells, moving from end to end with co-current flow and from center to end with counter-current flow. We will show experimental data and model predictions of the ignition and extinction front movements in PEM fuel cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication05AIChE
Subtitle of host publication2005 AIChE Annual Meeting and Fall Showcase, Conference Proceedings
Number of pages1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005
Event05AIChE: 2005 AIChE Annual Meeting and Fall Showcase - Cincinnati, OH, United States
Duration: Oct 30 2005Nov 4 2005


Other05AIChE: 2005 AIChE Annual Meeting and Fall Showcase
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityCincinnati, OH

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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