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unilogo Universität Stuttgart
Institute of Hydraulic Engineering

Research: Dept. of Hydromechanics and Modeling of Hydrosystems

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Modeling of the multiphase flow processes at the cathode of a hydrogen fuel-cell
Project manager:Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerhart Eigenberger
Research assistants:Dipl.-Ing. Maria Acosta
Dr.-Ing. Holger Class
Duration:1.1.2004 - 31.12.2004
Publications: Link


The performance of a hydrogen fuel-cell is strongly influenced by the properties of the so-called diffusion layer at the cathode side of the fuel cell. The diffusion layer separates the gas flow field plate from the the catalyst layer of the cathode. The water that is produced at the catalyst layer of the cathode has to be transported outwards to the gas flow field. At the same time, the oxygen that is required for the reaction has to be transported from the gas flow field through the diffusion layer to the catalyst layer.

The relevant physical processes can be described by a coupled, nonisothermal multiphase-multicomponent system. For the simulation of such processes, there is the numerical simulator MUFTE-UG available at the Chair of Hydromechanics and Modeling of Hydrosystems. The modeling of the gas-water processes in the diffusion layers is aimed to investigate the sensitivities of model parameters for an optimized performance of the fuel cell. Furthermore, this improves the basic understanding of the coupled processes significantly. Particularly the description of capillary pressures in the diffusion layer plays a key role as there is normally a hydrophobic coating.