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Mass transfer at two-phase and three-phase interfaces

Fundamentals and Survey of Systems

Mass transfer in fuel cells

  1. A. Weber1,
  2. R. Darling2,
  3. J. Meyers2,
  4. J. Newman1

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470974001.f102006

Handbook of Fuel Cells

Handbook of Fuel Cells

How to Cite

Weber, A., Darling, R., Meyers, J. and Newman, J. 2010. Mass transfer at two-phase and three-phase interfaces. Handbook of Fuel Cells. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA

  2. 2

    UTC Fuel Cells, South Windsor, CT, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


This chapter reviews the mathematical modeling of fuel cells, with emphasis on the different modes of transport. The chapter begins with a simple model of an acid fuel cell that describes current density variations as a function of reactant utilization. This introduction is followed by a discussion of mass transport through the various phases and layers in a fuel cell. This discussion includes examining the conservation laws of classical physics, the constitutive equations for momentum and mass transfer, and the kinetic equations for charge transfer reactions needed to model the physical phenomena occurring during fuel cell operation. Finally, simulations from a one-dimensional model of the cathode of a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell are discussed.


  • concentrated solution theory;
  • porous electrode theory;
  • dilute solution theory;
  • Stefan–Maxwell equations;
  • cathode simulation;
  • diffusion;
  • Knudsen;
  • Stefan–Maxwell;
  • Knudsen diffusion;
  • fuel cell governing equations;
  • polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell model;
  • electrochemical potential;
  • mass transport;
  • convection;
  • transport by fluid flow;
  • material balance;
  • electrode reaction kinetics;
  • Butler–Volmer equation;
  • Darcy's law;
  • pressure driven flow;
  • Fick's laws of diffusion