A pore-network model is developed to study the liquid water movement and flooding in a gas diffusion layer (GDL), with the GDL morphology taken into account. The dynamics of liquid water transport at the pore-scale and evolution of saturation profile in a GDL under realistic fuel cell operating conditions is examined for the first time. It is found that capillary forces control liquid water transport in the GDL and that liquid water moves in connected clusters with finger-like liquid waterfronts, rendering concave-shaped saturation profiles characteristic of fractal capillary fingering. The effect of liquid coverage at the GDL-channel interface on the liquid water transport inside GDL is also studied, and it is found that liquid coverage at the GDL-channel interface results in pressure buildup inside the GDL causing the liquid water to break out from preferential locations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemical Engineering(all)