Parametric study of the influence of cooling channel dimensions on PEM fuel cell thermal performance

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

1 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran

2 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Zabol, Zabol, Iran

Abstract

In a polymer membrane fuel cell more than half of the chemical energy of hydrogen is converted to heat during generation of electricity. This causes an increase in the cell temperature. The Cooling field design has a significant role in cell cooling. The cell's performance and stability are reduced due to inappropriate heat dissipation. In this paper, the cooling flow and heat transfer in cooling plates with parallel channels in the polymer membrane fuel cell are simulated and a parametric study of the influence of cooling channels dimensions on the fuel cell thermal performance is performed based on three indexes: maximum surface temperature cooling (Tmax), the temperature uniformity on the surface (Ut), and pressure drop. Numerical results show that increasing the depth of the channels has an adverse effect on temperature characteristic; inaddition, the pressure drop decreases. Therefore, regarding constructional limitations and mechanical strength, use of channels with a depth of 1 mm is recommended. Increasing the width of the channels decreases the maximum surface temperature of the cooling plate, the temperature uniformity index, and the pressure drop. However, increasing the channel width more than 3 mm does not have a significant effect on the cooling performance. Increasing the distance between two channels adversely effects the thermal parameters as well as increases the pressure drop. Therefore, the distance between two cooling channels should not be more than 2 mm.

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