Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Engineering Science (Interdepartmental Program)

Document Type



Fuel Cells are attractive power source for use in electronic applications. Physical phenomena (water generation, saturation effect in fuel cell, poisoning, and thermal stress) are studied that governs the operation of a Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) and Solid Oxide Fuel cell (SOFC). Additionally, experimental studies and numerical simulations on PEMFC gas flow channel, the determination of the impact of the single channel fuel cell are presented. Furthermore, preliminary study is done for the application of APS (Air Plasma Spray) to SOFC and adhesion of anode and cathode with electrolytes for the determination of parameters involved in manufacturing the components of fuel cell. The new aspects on physical phenomena are significantly different from the currently popular relationships used in fuel cells as they are simplified from simulation and experimental results. In prior work, the physical phenomena such as water generation, saturation effect in fuel cell, poisoning, and thermal stress etc. are either assumed or used as adjustment parameters to simplify them or to achieve best fits with polarization data. In this work, physical phenomena are not assumed but determined via newly developed experimental and numerical techniques. The experimental fixtures and procedures were used to find better ways to control parameters of gas flow channel configurations for optimizing gas flow rates and performance, and gas flow channel pressure swing for CO poisoning recovery. The experimental results reveal controlling parameters for the mentioned cases and innovative design for Fuel cells. Numerical modeling were used to 2D and later 3D for simplification of single channel fuel cell model, transient localized heating to the catalyst layer for CO recovery, thermal stress that developed during SOFC fabrication by High Temperature vacuum Tube Furnace (HTVTF), and Gas Diffusion Layer and Gas Flow Channel (GDL-GFC) interfacial conditions with results based on commonly used relationships from the PEMFC literature. The modeling works reveal substantial impact on predicted GDL saturation, and consequently cause a significant impact on cell performance. Computational parametric relations and polarization curve results are compared to experimental polarization behavior which achieved a comparable relation.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Guo, Shengmin