Modeling Thermal Transport in Heterogeneous Porous Media of PEM Fuel Cells Using Pore Network Model

Sunday, 5 October 2014: 13:20
Sunrise, 2nd Floor, Galactic Ballroom 8 (Moon Palace Resort)
V. Konduru, E. Medici, and J. S. Allen (Michigan Technological University)
Thermal and mass transport in the porous transport layers (PTL) of polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells is studied using a pore network model. The solid phase of the PTL is modeled as a network of solid cylinders and the pore phase is modeled as a network of hollow tubes. The two networks are coupled together at the nodes. The network of pores and solid-cylinders are generated independently using Weibull probability distribution function. In the current work, a new formulation of the thermal transport has been developed which incorporates the effect of compression under the lands of bipolar plate on thermal transport. The parameters of PTL used to model compression are obtained from experimentally obtained thermal conductivity values reported in literature. In this paper, a description of the model along with the technique of determining the parameters for compression and the effect of solid phase distribution on the thermal and mass transport in the porous media of fuel cells will be presented.