Progress of Cryogenics and Isotopes Separation , ISSN: 1582-2575
2014, Volume 17, Issue 2

Effects of Flow Field on PEM Fuel Cell Performance

Elena Carcadea * , Mihai Varlam , Ioan Stefanescu , Laurentiu Patularu , Adriana Marinoiu , Vasile Tanislav , Stanica Enache

National Research and Development Institute for Cryogenics and Isotopic Technologies - ICSI Rm. Valcea, Uzinei Street no. 4, PO Box Râureni 7, 240050, Râmnicu Vâlcea, Romania

*Corresponding author: Elena Carcadea, E-mail:

Published: October 2014


A comprehensive multi-physics model has been developed to simulate proton exchange membrane fuel cells using commercially available ANSYS MULTIPHYSICS software. The developed model accounts simultaneously for electrochemical kinetics and multi-component species transport. The proposed model is a full cell model, which includes all the parts of the PEM fuel cell, flow channels, gas diffusion electrodes, catalyst layers and the membrane. Coupled transport and electrochemical kinetics equations are solved in a single domain.

The three-dimensional fuel cell model was developed to predict the effects of flow field on the performance of a PEM fuel cell. Two different flow field designs for PEM fuel cells: serpentine channels and serpentine in parallel were investigated in this paper. The results showed that the serpentine channel fuel cell is slightly better than the other design regarding the performance. The serpentine configuration was experimentally investigated and the agreement between the CFD simulations and experiments carried out is very good at low current. At high current (above 70A) the numerical results over predict the performance of the fuel cell because the numerical model does not take into account the water in liquid form that appear in the real experiment.


Fuel cell modelling, serpentine and parallel channels, performance.

Tag search Fuel cell modelling serpentine parallel channels performance