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Publication Title

International Journal of Energy and Environmental Engineering




Modeling works which simulate the proton-exchange membrane fuel cell with the computational fluid dynamics approach involve the simultaneous solution of multiple, interconnected physics equations for fluid flows, heat transport, electrochemical reactions, and both protonic and electronic conduction. Modeling efforts vary by how they treat the physics within and adjacent to the membrane-electrode assembly (MEA). Certain approaches treat the MEA not as part of the computational domain, but rather an interface connecting the anode and cathode computational domains. These approaches may lack the ability to consistently model catalyst layer losses and MEA ohmic resistance. This work presents an upgraded interface formulation where coupled water, heat, and current transport behaviors of the MEA are modeled analytically. Improving upon the previous work, catalyst layer losses can now be modeled accurately without ad-hoc selection of model kinetic parameters. Key to the formulation is the incorporation of water absorption/desorption resistances. The interface model is developed with the consideration of only thru-plane variation, based upon varied fundamental research into each of the relevant physics. The model is validated against differential cell data with high- and low-humidity reactants. The agreement is very good in each case.


Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

© The Author(s) 2018

Original Publication Citation

Edwards, R. L., & Demuren, A. (2018). Interface model of PEM fuel cell membrane steady-state behavior. International Journal of Energy and Environmental Engineering, 22 pp. doi:10.1007/s40095-018-0288-2


0000-0003-1792-4720 (Demuren)