Authors: P. Berg, K. Promislow, J. Stockie and B. Wetton
Affilation: Simon Fraser University, Canada
Pages: 459 - 462
Keywords: PEM fuel cell, mathematical modeling, water management
Liquid water is fundamental to Polymer Electrolyte Membrane fuel cells (PEMFC). Its influence, both beneficial and parasitic, is measured on time scales from femto-seconds to hours, on length scales from Angstroms to centimeters. Its role couples it intimately to all aspects of PEM fuel cell operation: electro-chemical reaction and temperature management, ion transport in the polymer membrane, diffusive mass transport in gas diffusion layers, convective transport in headers and flow fields. A predictive mathematical model for water management must encompass, at some level, these complex interactions over the vast array of length and time scales. This talk will give an over-all sketch of PEMFC functioning, and then will visit in detail the aspects where nano-scales impinge upon the macro-level modeling. In particular we will focus on proton transport modeling in the electrolyte membrane, the multi-phase flow in the teflonated carbon fiber material of the gas diffusion layer which backs the membrane, and the crucial effects which occur at the junction of these two layers.