Thursday, June 20, 2013

1306.4575 (S. F. Burlatsky et al.)

A Mathematical Model for Predicting the Life of PEM Fuel Cell Membranes
Subjected to Hydration Cycling

S. F. Burlatsky, M. Gummalla, J. O'Neill, V. V. Atrazhev, A. N. Varyukhin, D. V. Dmitriev, N. S. Erikhman
Under typical PEM fuel cell operating conditions, part of membrane electrode assembly is subjected to humidity cycling due to variation of inlet gas RH and/or flow rate. Cyclic membrane hydration/dehydration would cause cyclic swelling/shrinking of the unconstrained membrane. In a constrained membrane, it causes cyclic stress resulting in mechanical failure in the area adjacent to the gas inlet. A mathematical modeling framework for prediction of the lifetime of a PEM FC membrane subjected to hydration cycling is developed in this paper. The model predicts membrane lifetime as a function of RH cycling amplitude and membrane mechanical properties. The modeling framework consists of three model components: a fuel cell RH distribution model, a hydration/dehydration induced stress model that predicts stress distribution in the membrane, and a damage accrual model that predicts membrane life-time. Short descriptions of the model components along with overall framework are presented in the paper. The model was used for lifetime prediction of a GORE-SELECT membrane.
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