The flow in gas flow channels of an operating polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell has a two-phase characteristic that includes air, water vapor and liquid water and significantly affects the water flooding, pressure distribution along the channels, and subsequently the performance of the cell and system. Presence of liquid water in channels prevents transport of the reactants to the catalysts and increases the pressure difference between the inlet and outlet of channels, which leads to high parasitic power of pumps used in air and fuel supply systems. We propose a model that enables prediction of pressure drop and liquid water distribution along channels and analysis of water flooding in an operating fuel cell. The model was developed based on a gas-liquid two-phase separated flow that considers the variations of gas pressure, mass flow rate, relative humidity, viscosity, void fraction, and density along the channels on both sides. Effects of operating parameters that include stoichoimetric ratio, relative humidity, and inlet pressure on the pressure drop and water flooding along the channels were analyzed.

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