In-plane transport effects on hydrogen depletion and carbon corrosion induced by anode flooding in proton exchange membrane fuel cells

Xiao Guang Yang, Qiang Ye, Ping Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

Anode flooding is frequently encountered in proton exchange membrane fuel cells, which can induce local hydrogen starvation and subsequently result in carbon corrosion in catalyst layers. In this work, we develop a two-dimensional computational model and focus our attention on the mechanisms of hydrogen transport within the diffusion medium when part of the anode channel is clogged. In-plane convection is demonstrated to be the primary mechanism for hydrogen transport at the fringe of the flooded area. As the reactant flows deep inside, however, the dominating mechanism switches to diffusion due to nitrogen accumulation in the anode. Moreover, if hydrogen outside the flooded region is diluted with nitrogen, the length scale for hydrogen to deplete completely is reduced substantially, leading to an extension of the area suffering from hydrogen starvation and carbon corrosion. Meanwhile, the spatial distribution of carbon corrosion rate is emphasized in this work, and the effect of in-plane proton conduction is highlighted. This paper also sheds light on the maximum rate of carbon corrosion, which is demonstrated to be solely determined by oxygen crossover rate at high cell voltages, but is influenced by the kinetics of oxygen reduction reaction at low voltages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4754-4765
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
Volume55
Issue number17-18
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes

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