Klages, M.; Enz, S.; Markötter, H.; Manke, I.; Kardjilov, N.; Scholta, J.: Investigations on dynamic water transport characteristics in flow field channels using neutron imaging techniques. Journal of Power Sources 239 (2013), p. 596-603
Handling of water accumulation is still a key issue in fuel cell research. The presented study evaluates the condensate removal capability of three different flow field designs. The designs are compared regarding cell voltage at different current densities using the same operating conditions. The investigated type of meander-shaped channels with a high degree of parallelization shows the best performance with stationary water thickness inside channels throughout the analyzed current densities. To develop and evaluate a condensate removal criterion for fuel cell construction, the pressure drop of each flow field is correlated to the water appearance visualized with neutron radiography. For a further insight, computational fluid dynamics simulation is used to calculate pressure drops present inside the characteristic regions of each flow field. Thus, a characteristic design limit of 20 mbar m1 for meander-shaped channels is proven to ensure the absence of channel blockage. The meander-shaped channels show specific pressure drops around this limit depending on water production and gas supply. The two other analyzed flow fields suffer from higher channel filling rates: the investigated straight channels with less parallelization fill up with time, while the pattern-structured flow field demonstrates gravity as an additional influence on condensate removal.