Masters Theses

Keywords and Phrases

Flow field design; Bipolar plates; Polyelectrolytes; Murray's law; Water production; Water management


"Fuel cells have received an increasing amount of attention over the past decade for their power production capabilities. Polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells in particular are researched because of their high power density, large range of operating conditions, green products, and ease of scalability. PEM fuel cells do have a number of issues that reduce their overall performance. These issues include variations in reactant distribution, materials issues for the bipolar plate, and flooding caused by poor water management. Variations in the reactant distribution causes lower overall power output due to regions of low reactant density. This means that optimizing the flow field to increase reactant density increases performance. One optimization method is to mimic natural structures that have similar functions. Leaves, lungs, and vein structures all have similar purposes to those in PEM fuel cells. Imitating their structure has been shown to improve power. It is also important to determine their water management properties. The membrane in the fuel cell must be hydrated to operate at optimally; however excess water causes mass transport issues by either blocking the channels or filling pores in the gas diffusion layer (GDL). This means that the water content in a PEM fuel cell must be delicately balanced to ensure that the membrane stays hydrated without causing flooding issues. Therefore, it is important to determine the water management capabilities of various bipolar plate designs. Clear bipolar plates are used to directly observe the water management capabilities of different flow field designs, which will be verified by the finite element model. These tests have shown that bio-inspired designs perform well in comparison with their conventional counterparts"--Abstract, page iii.


Köylü, Ümit Ö. (Ümit Özgür)

Committee Member(s)

He, Xiaoming
Isaac, Kakkattukuhzy M.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Degree Name

M.S. in Mechanical Engineering


National Science Foundation (U.S.)


Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

Summer 2013


ix, 50 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographical references.


© 2013 Nicholas Warren Freer, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

File Type




Subject Headings

Proton exchange membrane fuel cells -- Computer simulation
Proton exchange membrane fuel cells -- Design
Proton exchange membrane fuel cells -- Testing
Biomimetics -- Computer simulation

Thesis Number

T 10349

Electronic OCLC #