A 3-D computational model for PEMFC simulations has been developed and implemented in FLUENT, a general purpose commercial software package with multi-physics capabilities. In this modeling approach, transport equations for flow, energy, species and electro-potentials (both solid and membrane phases) are solved in the entire computational domain that includes current collectors, gas channels, porous gas diffusion layers, reacting catalyst layers and the membrane. Various physical processes such as multi-component diffusion, electro-chemical reactions, membrane water transport, liquid water formation and vaporization are considered. The numerical model is also capable of simulating other physical effects encountered in PEMFC operations such as contact resistance, joule heating, time-varying operating conditions etc. The details of the modeling approach are first presented in this paper. Results of a parametric study are then given, which sheds lights on the dependence of in-situ distributions, such as species concentrations, water content, temperature and current density, on various operating conditions.

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