Particle Image Velocimetry and Computational Fluid Dynamics Analysis of Fuel Cell Manifold
Publication: Research - peer-review › Journal article
The inlet effect on the manifold flow in a fuel cell stack was investigated by means of numerical methods (computational fluid dynamics) and experimental methods (particle image velocimetry). At a simulated high current density situation the flow field was mapped on a 70 cell simulated cathode manifold. Three different inlet configurations were tested: plug flow, circular inlet, and a diffuser inlet. A very distinct jet was formed in the manifold, when using the circular inlet configuration, which was confirmed both experimentally and numerically. This jet was found to be an asymmetric confined jet, known as the symmetry-breaking bifurcation phenomenon, and it is believed to cause a significant maldistribution of the stack flow distribution. The investigated diffuser design proved to generate a much smoother transition from the pipe flow to the manifold flow with a subsequent better flow distribution. A method was found in the literature to probe if there is a risk of jet asymmetry; it is however recommended by the author to implement a diffuser design, as this will generate better stack flow distribution and less head loss. Generally, the numerical and experimental results were found in to be good agreement, however, a detailed investigation revealed some difference in the results.
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