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Comparative computational fluid dynamic analysis between split and dual serpentine flow field for proton exchange membrane fuel cells

Gundalabhagavan Amarnath and A. Veeresh Babu

National Institute of Technology Warangal, Telengana, India



Received: 7 February 2023  Accepted: 19 April 2023


Performance of fuel cell largely depends on various design parameters like thickness and porosity of gas diffusion layer and catalyst layer, thickness of membrane and flow field designs. Out of these parameters, flow field design has a very significant influence on performance of PEM fuel cell in terms of reactant distribution and product evacuation. In this article, an attempt has been made to compare the flow behavior of parallel and counter split serpentine flow field with dual serpentine flow field. Flow fields of shorter dimensions with more number of u-bends were considered to increase the resident time of reactants leading to high temperature spots resulting upsurge in chemical reaction. The active area is limited to 441 mm2 in order to get a close look at changes in characteristics. Characteristics like temperature, oxygen consumption, membrane water content and current density were better for split serpentine counter flow field configuration. Furthermore, polarization characteristics for all three cases were plotted and it was observed that split serpentine with counter flow field has better current density among other designs. In comparison to the dual serpentine flow field, split serpentine parallel flow and counter flow enhanced their power densities by 6.5% and 10.6%, respectively, and their oxygen consumption by 1.5% and 5%.

Keywords: Proton exchange membrane fuel cell; Serpentine flow field design; CFD simulation; Pressure drop; Water management; Thermal management

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1007/s11696-023-02841-0


Chemical Papers 77 (9) 5033–5045 (2023)

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