The effect of gas diffusion layer compression on gas bypass and water slug motion in parallel gas flow channels

Donghao H. Ye, Eric Gauthier, May Jean Cheah, Jay Benziger, Mu Pan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Water slugs form in the gas flow channels of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) which hinder reactant transport to the catalyst layer. We report a study correlating video images of slug formation and motion with pressure/flow measurements in parallel gas flow channels. Slugs move when the differential gas pressure exceeds the force to advance the contact lines of the slug with the channel walls. Water slugs can divert the gas flow through the gas diffusion layer (GDL) beneath the ribs to adjacent channels. The flow diversion can cause slugs to stop moving. Slug size and motion has been correlated with in situ GDL permeabilities as functions of GDL compression. Compression reduces the GDL permeability under the ribs much more than the GDL permeability under the channel. A model is presented to describe the spatio-temporal location of slugs in a PEMFC flow field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-367
Number of pages13
JournalAIChE Journal
Volume61
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering(all)

Keywords

  • Fuel cells
  • Microfluidics
  • Multiphase flow
  • Porous media

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