Doctoral Dissertations

Keywords and Phrases

Air Breathing Fuel Cells; Component Functionality; Manufacturing and Assembly Strategy; Non-Prismatic Designs; PEM; Unconventional Materials


"The purpose of this dissertation is to study the importance of design novelty and advanced manufacturing and assembly practices towards portable air-breathing proton exchange membrane fuel cells. Traditional proton exchange membrane fuel cell designs have always been based on prismatic shapes and expensive materials like graphite and steel. The novel design strategies theorized as part of this research though have led to the creation of working prototypes with unconventional form factors, materials and manufacturing methods. The benefits include improved reactant flow characteristics, superior power densities, reduced cost, and simplified manufacturing and assembly complexity as compared to conventional proton exchange membrane fuel cell designs.

The proof of these improvements will be provided as numerical, analytical and experimental data over the forthcoming sections. Materials including polycarbonate and stainless steel have been employed to improve power densities. Solvent welding has been employed as an assembly practice in place of conventional fastening mechanisms to promote leak proof sealing. Additive manufacturing practices have also been employed to promote manufacturing ease. The benefits of these new ideologies in some cases have included ten-fold increases in power densities, coupled with an eighty percent reduction in the number of components and weight. All of these advantages of the new designs have been verified using working prototypes that were manufactured in-house. These advantages could make them exceedingly attractive, portable energy solutions"--Abstract, page iv.


Liou, Frank W.

Committee Member(s)

Newkirk, Joseph William
Midha, A. (Ashok)
Du, Xiaoping
Chandrashekhara, K.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Degree Name

Ph. D. in Mechanical Engineering


Air Force Research Labs
Missouri University of Science and Technology. Intelligent Systems Center

Research Center/Lab(s)

Intelligent Systems Center


Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

Summer 2016

Journal article titles appearing in thesis/dissertation

  • Non-prismatic air-breathing fuel cells -- Concept, theory, design, and manufacturing
  • Design strategy for reducing manufacturing and assembly complexity of air-breathing proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC)
  • Promoting natural convection in air-breathing proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells using novel design strategies and additive manufacturing


xv, 118 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographic references.


© 2016 Sriram Praneeth Isanaka, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

File Type




Thesis Number

T 11345

Electronic OCLC #