Numerical study of serpentine flow-field cooling plates on PEM fuel cells performance


  • Dong Hyup Jeon

    Corresponding author
    1. Core Technology Lab., Corporate R&D Center, Samsung SDI Co. Ltd., Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea
    • School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
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Correspondence: D. H. Jeon, 301–1414, 599 Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-ku, Seoul 151–744, Korea.



The effect of a cooling plate on a PEM fuel cell was studied by three-dimensional CFD modeling. The cyclic cell and the single cell were compared for the evaluation of the influence of cooling plate. The cyclic cell consisted of a single cell and a two-channel serpentine flow-field coolant, which then repeats by using a cyclic boundary on both ends. The single cell was composed of an active area of 200 cm2 and a 10-channel serpentine flow field. The following sets of equations were used in the model: the conservation of electrical current, the mass conservation of gases species, the Navier–Stokes equation, the energy balance, and the water phase change model. Comparison of cyclic cell and single cell shows that the voltage of cyclic cell was reduced at high current densities because of the increased ohmic losses. This was caused by the combined effect of membrane dehydration and higher local temperature. However, the cyclic cell showed more uniform current density distribution than the single cell, and this is attributed to the use of cooling plate. Increasing the coolant flux enhanced the cell performance by reducing the ohmic loss. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.