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Journal Article

Effects of Fuel Cell Material Properties on Water Management Using CFD Simulation and Neutron Imaging

Effects of fuel cell material properties on water management were numerically investigated using Volume of Fluid (VOF) method in the FLUENT. The results show that the channel surface wettability is an important design variable for both serpentine and interdigitated flow channel configurations. In a serpentine air flow channel, hydrophilic surfaces could benefit the reactant transport to reaction sites by facilitating water transport along channel edges or on channel surfaces; however, the hydrophilic surfaces would also introduce significantly pressure drop as a penalty. For interdigitated air flow channel design, it is observable that liquid water exists only in the outlet channel; it is also observable that water distribution inside GDL is uneven due to the pressure distribution caused by interdigitated structure. An in-situ water measurement method, neutron imaging technique, was used to investigate the water behavior in a PEM fuel cell.