Comparisons of Performances and Liquid Water Distributions within Bio-Inspired and Single-Serpentine PEM Fuel Cell Channels


Flow field design in Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cells is a major area of research for performance improvement. Bio-inspired flow field designs are a relatively recent development in fuel cell technology evolution. These novel designs have potential for performance improvements by effective distribution of reactant gases with better water management capabilities. This work investigates the performance and water distribution in a bio-inspired flow field design, formulated using Murray's law and mimicking a typical leaf venation pattern, in comparison to a conventional single serpentine design. Experiments were conducted using a transparent fuel cell with copper as the conductive channel and current collector. The results indicated the superior performance of the bio-inspired design with a 30% increase in peak power density in comparison to the single serpentine design. Additionally, the flow regimes based on two-phase flows in micro channels were identified and their effects on fuel cell stability were determined.

Meeting Name

ASME 2015 13th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology, FUELCELL2015 (2015: Jun. 28-Jul. 2, San Diego, CA)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


National Science Foundation (Grant No. CMMI-1131659) sponsored this research.

Keywords and Phrases

Cell engineering; Design; Flow fields; Forestry; Fuel cells; Serpentine; Silicate minerals; Sustainable development; Two phase flow; Water supply systems; Bio-inspired designs; Conductive channels; Effective distribution; Fuel cell stability; Fuel cell technologies; Liquid water distributions; Management capabilities; Peak power densities; Proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC)

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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© 2015 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jun 2015