Multiple concentric spirals for the flow field of a proton exchange membrane fuel cell

Daniel Juarez-Robles, Abel Hernandez-Guerrero, Bladimir Ramos-Alvarado, Francisco Elizalde-Blancas, Cesar E. Damian-Ascencio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


The present analysis considers a three-dimensional non-isothermal model in a single phase of a PEM fuel cell with a flow field path in the shape of 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8 concentric spirals. The current density contours, the water content and the entropy generated in all zones of the fuel cell are predicted. The analysis of the three-dimensional model includes the gas flow channels in the six geometric shapes mentioned above, the current collectors, gas diffusion layers, catalyst layers on both sides of the model, anode and cathode, and a proton exchange membrane in between. The energy equation, mass conservation, and transport of species equations are solved, including source terms that take into account the electrochemical effects occurring inside the cell. Also, the entropy generation equation is added to the governing equations of the model. The results allow a comparison to help to decide which of the 6 analyzed configurations improve the performance of the fuel cell, increasing the current density produced, reducing the pressure drop and producing the most uniform current density. The entropy generation analysis reveals the effects that cause the most significant losses (irreversibilities) in the cell. The Bejan number and the Π number are used to compare the irreversibilities produced by the matter flow and by the heat transfer for each one of the six models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8019-8030
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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