Interface phenomena in proton exchange membrane fuel cells

Simo Kang, University of Windsor


Two phase flow phenomena is a critical issue in Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) development. Two main classes of PEMFCs, direct hydrogen fuel cell (DHFC) and direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) have similar problem caused by two phase flow. Both the water in cathode (DHFC and DMFC) and CO2 in anode (DMFC) cannot be removed efficiently will hinder the process of the chemical reaction of the fuel cell and interfere with the performance. To optimize the performance of a PEMFC, it is important to understand the gas-liquid interaction and an accurate two-phase modeling needs be develop for this purpose. In this thesis, Volume of Fluid (VOF) method has been introduced into PEMFC modeling conducted by commercial computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software package FLUENT 6.3.26. User defined function (UDF) is adopted to calculated the pressure and liquid or gas amount. Different geometries and simplified simulation domain designs have been developed.