Interface resolving two-phase flow simulations in gas channels relevant for polymer electrolyte fuel cells using the volume of fluid approach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

With the increased concern about energy security, air pollution and global warming, the possibility of using polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs) in future sustainable and renewable energy systems has achieved considerable momentum. A computational fluid dynamic model describing a straight channel, relevant for water removal inside a PEFC, is devised. A volume of fluid (VOF) approach is employed to investigate the interface resolved two-phase flow behavior inside the gas channel including the gas diffusion layer (GDL) surface. From this study, it is clear that the impact on the two-phase flow pattern for different hydrophobic/hydrophilic characteristics, i.e., contact angles, at the walls and at the GDL surface is significant, compared to a situation where the walls and the interface are neither hydrophobic nor hydrophilic (i.e., 90° contact angle at the walls and also at the GDL surface). A location of the GDL surface liquid inlet in the middle of the gas channel gives droplet formation, while a location at the side of the channel gives corner flow with a convex surface shape (having hydrophilic walls and a hydrophobic GDL interface). Droplet formation only observed when the GDL surface liquid inlet is located in the middle of the channel. The droplet detachment location (along the main flow direction) and the shape of the droplet until detachment are strongly dependent on the size of the liquid inlet at the GDL surface. A smaller liquid inlet at the GDL surface (keeping the mass flow rates constant) gives smaller droplets.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Jülich Research Centre
  • Queen's University
  • RWTH Aachen University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Energy Engineering

Keywords

  • Droplet formation, Gas channel, Modeling, PEFC, VOF
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2961-2976
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Volume43
Issue number5
Early online date2018 Jan 10
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Feb
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes