Modeling of the anode of a liquid-feed DMFC: Inhomogeneous compression effects and two-phase transport phenomena Articles uri icon

publication date

  • January 2014

start page

  • 239

end page

  • 252


  • 246

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0378-7753

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-2755


  • An isothermal two-phase 2D/1D across-the-channel model for the anode of a liquid-feed Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC) is presented. The model takes into account the effects of the inhomogeneous assembly compression of the Gas Diffusion Layer (GDL), including the spatial variations of porosity, diffusivity, permeability, capillary pressure, and electrical conductivity. The effective anisotropic properties of the GDL are evaluated from empirical data reported in the literature corresponding to Toray carbon paper TGP-H series. Multiphase transport is modeled according to the classical theory of porous media (two-fluid model), considering the effect of non-equilibrium evaporation and condensation of methanol and water. The numerical results evidence that the hydrophobic Leverett J-function approach is physically inconsistent to describe capillary transport in the anode of a DMFC when assembly compression effects are considered. In contrast, more realistic results are obtained when GDL-specific capillary pressure curves reflecting the mixed-wettability characteristics of GDLs are taken into account. The gas coverage factor at the GDL/channel interface also exhibits a strong influence on the gas-void fraction distribution in the GDL, which in turn depends on the relative importance between the capillary resistance induced by the inhomogeneous compression, Rc(∝ ∂pc/∂epsilon), and the capillary diffusivity, D̄c((∝ ∂pc/∂s).


  • dmfc modeling; anode; porous layer; effective properties; assembly compression; capillary transport