Standard Article

Two–phase flow and transport

Fuel Cell Technology and Applications

Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells and systems (PEMFC)

Bipolar plate materials and flow field design

  1. C.-Y. Wang

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470974001.f303032

Handbook of Fuel Cells

Handbook of Fuel Cells

How to Cite

Wang, C.-Y. 2010. Two–phase flow and transport. Handbook of Fuel Cells. .

Author Information

  1. The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


This chapter reviews latest experimental and modeling efforts towards developing a basic understanding of two-phase flow physics in proton exchange membrane fuel cells. Both hydrogen proton exchange membrane fuel cells and proton exchange membrane based direct methanol fuel cells are discussed. As an important example of materials characterization, wetting characteristics of gas diffusion layers are examined and the techniques of measuring contact angle are discussed. Next, a comprehensive physico-chemical modeling framework of combining electrochemistry with two-phase transport is presented along with select numerical examples for both hydrogen and direct methanol fuel cells. The current state of the computational efficiency of these comprehensive models is indicated. A critical need for model validation against detailed data of the current distribution is demonstrated, and a new technique of measuring the current distribution using a segmented flow plate and a multi-channel potentiostat is presented. Finally, areas for future research into two-phase transport in proton exchange membrane fuel cells and the associated cathode flooding are pointed out.


  • two-phase flow;
  • electrode flooding;
  • gas diffusion layer;
  • wetting properties;
  • current distribution measurement;
  • computational fuel cell dynamics;
  • direct methanol fuel cells