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International Heat Transfer Conference 15

ISSN: 2377-424X (online)
ISSN: 2377-4371 (flashdrive)

Flow Distribution Uniformity Evaluation in kW-Range Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Stack

Yuta Nakano
Fujikura Ltd.

Yuki Morimatsu
Fujikura Ltd.

Zhen Guo
Thermal Technology Division, Fujikura Ltd, 1-5-1, Kiba, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-8512, Japan

Masakazu Ohashi
Thermal Technology Division, Fujikura Ltd, 1-5-1, Kiba, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-8512, Japan

Masataka Mochizuki
Thermal Technology Division, Fujikura Ltd. 1-5-1, Kiba, Koto-Ku, Tokyo 135, Japan

DOI: 10.1615/IHTC15.fcl.009078
pages 2833-2845

SCHLÜSSELWÖRTER: Fuel cell, Energy conversion and storage, DMFC, Pressure drop, Flow distribution.


This paper describes evaluation of flow distribution uniformity in DMFC stack. The DMFC stack has 70 cells with different manifold cross-section area of 500mm2 or 1500mm2. Two flow patterns of U-configuration and Z-configuration are used. Bi-polar plate active area is 180cm2 with 30 serpentine channels. Channel is 400mm-long with cross-section area of 0.6875mm2. We performed flow network analysis of DMFC by using manifold flow model combined with cell channel flow. Cell channel flow is modeled by Hagen-Poiseuille equation. Manifold flow is modeled by mechanical energy conservation equation. Different flow rates are considered 180L/min or 360L/min. Case.1: U-configuration, 180L/min, 500mm2, Case.2: U-configuration, 360L/min, 500mm2, Case.3: Z-configuration, 360L/min, 500mm2, Case.4: U-configuration, 360L/min, 1500mm2. As flow rate increased from 180L/min to 360L/min, turbulent flow effect in manifold increases. Pressure drop in manifold of case.2 is about 3.8 times larger than that of case.1. As a result, serious non-uniform flow distribution happens in case.2. In comparison between Z-configuration and U-configuration, pressure drop in manifold of case.3 is lower than that of case.2. Z-configuration is more desirable than U-configuration. As manifold crosssection area increasing to 1500mm2 in case.4, pressure drop in manifold of case.4 becomes about one-eighth of that of case.2, which results in more uniform flow distribution. In summary, large pressure drop in manifold is caused by turbulent flow resulting in more serious non-uniform flow distribution in U-configuration. Zconfiguration helps to reduce pressure drop in manifold and non-uniform flow distribution for each cell. Manifold cross-section area also has significant effect on flow distribution uniformity.

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