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Pore network modeling to study the impacts of geometric parameters on water transport inside gas diffusion layers
Author(s): Hamed Gholipour, M.J Kermani, Rahim Zamanian
Keywords: Fuel cells; Gas diffusion layer; Two-phase flow; Pore network modeling; Capillary fingering
A pore network model (PNM) is proposed for the simulation of water transport inside the cathode side gas diffusion layer (GDL) of polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs) during the transient start-up period as well as the steady state. Numerous two-dimensional random networks representing GDL are generated followed by statistical averaging of the results to circumvent the uncertainties accompanied by PNMs. The resulting liquid water saturation profiles within GDLs exhibit concave patterns which is typically encountered in capillary fingering flow regimes in porous media. The effect of GDL thickness and current collector rib width as two geometric parameters on water transport dynamics are separately investigated. It turns out that thin and thick GDLs compared to the base case can have contradicting outcomes on the account of total water saturations in the network. On the other hand, wide current collector ribs give rise to liquid water saturation and build-up within GDL which can lead to flooding. At the end, three-dimensional networks are generated to compensate for the shortcomings of two-dimensional networks for visualization purposes.

Journal of Applied Fluid Mechanics

The Journal of Applied Fluid Mechanics (JAFM) is an international, peer-reviewed journal which covers a wide range of theoretical, numerical and experimental aspects in fluid mechanics. The emphasis is on the applications in different engineering fields rather than on pure mathematical or physical aspects in fluid mechanics. Although many high quality journals pertaining to different aspects of fluid mechanics presently exist, research in the field is rapidly escalating.