Elucidating liquid water distribution and removal in an operating proton exchange membrane fuel cell via Neutron radiography

Michael Anthony Hickner, Ken S. Chen, Nathan P. Siegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Neutron radiography was used to quantify the steady-state water content and its distribution in a 50 cm2 operating proton exchange membrane fuel cell. It was observed that the liquid water distribution near the corners of the gas-flow channels (GFCs) is influenced by the local gas-flow velocity as determined by the cathode stoichiometric flow ratio. At low velocity, the distribution of liquid water down the channel was found to be fairly uniform with only a slight reduction in liquid water content at the exit of the GFC corners. It was further observed that as the cathode gas-flow velocity is increased, a noticeable pattern develops in which liquid water is concentrated at the entrance to the GFC corners and becomes depleted in the corner and near the exit of the corner; liquid water content again increases further down the channel away from the corners. A singlephase computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model was developed and employed to help explain the observed water-distribution patterns. Flow-fields computed from our CFD model reveal recirculation regions in the GFC corners as well as in the areas of increased local gas-flow velocity, which help explain the experimentally observed liquid water distribution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110011-110015
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Fuel Cell Science and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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