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Two-phase flow and oxygen transport in the perforated gas diffusion layer of proton exchange membrane fuel cell

Abstract

Liquid water transport in perforated gas diffusion layers (GDLs)is numerically investigated using a three-dimensional (3D)two-phase volume of fluid (VOF)model and a stochastic reconstruction model of GDL microstructures. Different perforation depths and diameters are investigated, in comparison with the GDL without perforation. It is found that perforation can considerably reduce the liquid water level inside a GDL. The perforation diameter (D = 100 μm)and the depth (H = 100 μm)show pronounced effect. In addition, two different perforation locations, i.e. the GDL center and the liquid water break-through point, are investigated. Results show that the latter perforation location works more efficiently. Moreover, the perforation perimeter wettability is studied, and it is found that a hydrophilic region around the perforation further reduces the water saturation. Finally, the oxygen transport in the partially-saturated GDL is studied using an oxygen diffusion model. Results indicate that perforation reduces the oxygen diffusion resistance in GDLs and improves the oxygen concentration at the GDL bottom up to 101% (D = 100 μm and H = 100 μm)

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