On the effects of assembly compression on the performance of liquid-feed DMFCs under methanol-limiting conditions: A 2D numerical study Articles uri icon

publication date

  • July 2015

start page

  • 543

end page

  • 558


  • 285

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0378-7753

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-2755


  • The influence of assembly compression on the performance of liquid-feed DMFCs under methanol-limiting conditions is explored by means of a 2D/1D multiphysics across-the-channel model. The numerical formulation incorporates a comprehensive 2D description of the anode GDL, including two-phase phenomena, non-uniform anisotropic transport properties, and electrical contact resistances at the GDL/BPP interface. GDL effective properties are evaluated using empirical data corresponding to Toray (R) carbon paper. A simplified but physically sound 1D description, locally coupled to the 2D anode GDL model, is adopted to describe transport processes in the MPLs, membrane and cathode GDL, whereas the catalyst layers are treated as infinitely thin surfaces. Good agreement is found between the numerical results and previous experimental data. The interplay between assembly compression, bipolar plate material, and channel configuration is also investigated. The results show that there is an optimum GDL compression ratio in terms of overall power density, the optimal compression level being strongly dependent on bipolar plate material. Beyond the optimum, the detrimental effect of compression is larger in non-parallel flow fields due to the additional reduction of methanol transported by under-rib convection. The results suggest that, under certain conditions, this transport mechanism could be more important than diffusion in the anode of liquid-feed DMFCs. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.