Investigation of water and temperature distribution in PEM fuel cells

  • Abhishek Raj

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The present work focusses on the thermal and water management of the PEM fuel cell. Their optimization is a key requirement for the commercial level implementation and use of fuel cell. Modeling can assist is getting better understanding of various complex physicochemical processes occurring in fuel cells, which is critical in improving the fuel cell performance and making them far more cost effective. Modeling efforts in PEM fuel cell area have been focused on developing both single and multidimensional (2D and 3D). The higher dimensional models provide accurate descriptions of the fuel cell processes; however, their complexity requires extensive computational resources. On the contrary, lower dimensional along the channel models are computationally less intensive; although they are unable to fully represent the global phenomena in fuel cells. This causes a difference in results, termed as multidimensionality effect Present study is focused on analyzing the influence of this effect by developing and analyzing two similar models in COMSOL: a 2D and 3D model, under same operating conditions. Since temperature is another critical factor determining water levels and ultimately the performance of fuel cells, its optimization is necessary to prevent material degradation and allow sufficient heat removal especially in places like Abu Dhabi where the temperature variation between day and night is significant. The impact of factors like ambient temperatures and material properties, which govern temperature distribution, is also explored in the present work.
Date of Award2012
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorTariq Shamim (Supervisor)


  • Temperature
  • Investigations
  • Fuel Cells

Cite this