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Experimental and theoretical investigation of mass transport in porous media of a PEM fuel cell Open Access


Other title
fuel cell
mass transport
porous media
effective diffusivity
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Pant, Lalit M
Supervisor and department
Secanell Gallart, Marc (Mechanical Engineering)
Mitra, Sushanta K (Mechanical Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Luo, Jingli (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Kumar, Amit (Mechanical Engineering)
Department of Mechanical Engineering

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Porous media is an integral part of polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEMFC) electrodes. In this study, an experimental setup is presented to investigate convective and diffusive mass transport in porous media of fuel cell electrodes. A new theoretical model was developed in order to correct for inconsistencies in current models. Based on the new model, a new data extraction technique was used to obtain permeability and Knudsen diffusivity of a porous media from steady state pure convection measurements. The model was also used to obtain effective diffusivity of porous media from mass transport experiments. Using the obtained transport properties, the models were used to predict mass transport in the electrodes under different operating conditions. Preliminary comparisons of experimental and theoretical predictions show that the new mass transport model is capable of predicting mass transport in the electrode accurately. The results concluded that the traditionally used Bruggeman correlation overpredicts the electrode effective diffusivity by as much as 3-4 times.
License granted by Lalit Pant ( on 2011-08-26T18:16:54Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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