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

Jay B. Benziger, Yannis G. Kevrekidis

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. By connecting several STR-PEM fuel cells in series, the effects of the four operating parameters, i.e., 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 propagated 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. Experimental data and model predictions of the ignition and extinction front movements in PEM fuel cells are presented. This is an abstract of a paper presented at the 2007 AIChE Annual Meeting (Salt Lake City, UT 11/4-9/2007).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2007 AIChE Annual Meeting
StatePublished - 2007
Event2007 AIChE Annual Meeting - Salt Lake City, UT, United States
Duration: Nov 4 2007Nov 9 2007

Publication series

Name2007 AIChE Annual Meeting


Other2007 AIChE Annual Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySalt Lake City, UT

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Bioengineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


Dive into the research topics of 'Dynamics of ignition and front propagation in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this