Effect of GDL surface wettability gradient on water behavior in a serpentine gas flow channel of proton exchange membrane fuel cell

[+] Author and Article Information
Sneha Malhotra

Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Roorkee, Roorkee 247667, India

Sumana Ghosh

Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Roorkee, Roorkee 247667, India

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4039520 History: Received October 16, 2017; Revised February 27, 2018


Water removal and behavior, in proton exchange membrane fuel cell gas flow channel has been investigated in the present work. Single serpentine gas flow channel has been simulated. Hydrodynamics of water drops in a serpentine channel are studied as function of nature of GDL surface wettability. In one case, the surface becomes gradually hydrophobic starting from 90° to 170°. In this second case, the value of contact angle reduces to 10°. A 3D model has been developed by using CFD software. Two different drop of diameter 0.2 mm and 0.4 mm are simulated for all the cases. It is observed that, water coverage is always lesser for a gradual hydrophobic surface. Also at low air velocity and gradual hydrophobic GDL surface results in lesser pressure drop as well as water coverage.

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