Current Distribution on PEM Fuel Cells with Different Flow Channel Patterns

A. Paulino[1], E. Cunha[1], E. Robalinho[2], R. Passos[3], E. Santiago[1]
[1]Instituto de Pesquisas Energéticas e Nucleares, São Paulo, SP, Brazil
[2]Universidade Nove de Julho, São Paulo, SP, Brazil
[3]Universidade Federal do Amazonas, Manaus, AM, Brazil

In this paper, PEM fuel cells with serpentine and interdigitated flow channel patterns were studied. The main objective was to analyze the influence of the flow channel design in the current distribution over the cell. A 3D isothermal model comprising the entire 5 cm² cell was developed for this study. Polarization curves show that both cells have very similar performances. However, current density plots indicate major differences between them. In the serpentine pattern, current generation is concentrated near the gas entrance, while in the interdigitated pattern, current densities are more distributed over the cell area.