Numerical modeling of liquid water motion in a polymer electrolyte fuel cell

Fangming Jiang, Chao Yang Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


A three dimensional transient model fully coupling the two phase flow, species transport, heat transport, and electrochemical processes is developed to investigate the liquid water formation and transport in a polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC). This model is based on the multiphase mixture (M2) formulation with a complete treatment of two phase transport throughout the PEFC, including gas channels, enabling modeling the liquid water motion in the entire PEFC. This work particularly focuses on the liquid water accumulation and transport in gas channels. It is revealed that the liquid water accumulation in gas channels mainly relies on three mechanisms and in the anode and cathode may rely on different mechanisms. The transport of liquid water in the anode channel basically follows a condensation-evaporation mechanism, in sharp contrast to the hydrodynamic transport of liquid water in the cathode channel. Liquid water in the cathode channel can finally flow outside from the exit along with the exhaust gas. As the presence of liquid water in gas channels alters the flow regime involved, from the single phase homogeneous flow to two phase flow, the flow resistance is found to significantly increase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)942-950
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 13 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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