Masters Theses

Keywords and Phrases

Bio-inspired flow fields; Transparent fuel cells; Two phase flows; Water management


"Fuel cells are being increasingly used in various stationary and transportation power applications due to their higher energy efficiency and lower pollution. Flow field design in Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cells is a major area of research for performance improvement. Bio-inspired flow field designs have significant potential for increased performance by effective distribution of reactants with better water management capabilities. In this study, a bio-inspired flow field design, formulated using Murray's law and mimicking a typical leaf venation pattern, is experimentally and computationally investigated in comparison to a conventional single serpentine design. Experiments are conducted using a special transparent fuel cell assembly with copper as the conductive channel and current collector so that liquid water within the fuel cell channels can be directly visualized. Overall performances of both bio-inspired and conventional PEM fuel cells are also quantified with the corresponding polarization and power curves. Moreover, advanced computational simulations are carried out to predict pressure, velocity, and reactant and product distributions within the cells. The measurements and simulations clearly demonstrate the superior performance of the bio-inspired design with a 30% increase in peak power density in comparison to the conventional design. The observed water management capabilities as well as the computed parameters support and complement this overall result, quantify different types of two-phase flows within the fuel cell micro-channels, and help elucidate the underlying physical and electrochemical processes. The results are expected to significantly contribute to the improvement and optimization of nature-inspired PEM fuel cells."--Abstract, page iii.


Köylü, Ümit Ö. (Ümit Özgür)

Committee Member(s)

Leu, M. C. (Ming-Chuan)
Isaac, Kakkattukuzhy M.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Degree Name

M.S. in Mechanical Engineering


National Science Foundation (U.S.)


Funded by the National Science Foundation Grant #CMMI-1131659


Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

Spring 2015


ix, 88 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 83-87).


© 2015 Venkatanaga Bhaskar Prakash Saripella, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

File Type




Subject Headings

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

Thesis Number

T 10693

Electronic OCLC #