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Investigation of fractal flow-fields in portable proton exchange membrane and direct methanol fuel cells

: Tüber, K.; Oedegaard, A.; Hermann, M.; Hebling, C.


Moseley, P.T.:
Eighth Grove Fuel Cell Symposium 2003. Selected papers : London, UK, 24 - 26 September 2003
Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2004 (Journal of power sources 131.2004,1/2)
Grove Fuel Cell Symposium <8, 2003, London>
Conference Paper, Journal Article
Fraunhofer ISE ()

The flow-field design can have great influence on the operating performance of both proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) and direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs). Inhomogeneous transport of reactants to and products from the active area of these low-temperature fuel cells result in loss of power. Newly designed fractal structures are tested as flow-fields in PEMFCs and DMFCs for portable applications. To achieve a uniform fluid distribution and simultaneously minimize energy demand for mass transport (pressure loss), a computer algorithm is developed to provide a given area with a multiple ramified fluid network. By virtue of the self-similarity, the structures of such a network are called fractals. These are investigated and compared with common serpentine and parallel flow-fields. For both PEMFCs and DMFCs fractal flow-fields show similar performance to parallel designs. The most stable and highest power output is reached with the serpentine flow-field.