Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M. Eng.


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Chair

Park, Sam D.

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Brehob, Ellen G.

Committee Member

Kang, Kyung A.

Author's Keywords

Fuel cell[; ] Open cathode[; ] Low temp[; ] Simulation[; ] Compression[; ] Analytical


Fuel cells; Cathodes


In this thesis four different fuel cell designs were simulated with consideration for electrochemical effects, reactant species transport, and heat transfer. Simulation results include the mass fraction of hydrogen, oxygen, and water, temperature gradient, pressure gradient, and velocity profile. One of the fuel cell designs was experimentally tested using two different membrane electrolyte assemblies; one high performance and the other high durability. The polarization curve resulting from simulation compares well with the polarization curve produced by experimental work. A 16 cell fuel cell stack was simulated with consideration for stack compression. The same fuel cell stack was tested experimentally for compression using pressure sensitive films. Compression testing was performed in order to find areas of low compression and high compression. Low compression regions lead to high contact resistance which degrades the performance of the fuel cell. High compression regions can cause damage to the thin and brittle membrane electrolyte assemblies. A good correlation was found between the compression pattern resulting from simulation and experimental work.