Combined effects of environmental vibrations and hygrothermal fatigue on mechanical damage in PEM fuel cells

Roshanak Banan, Aimy Bazylak, Jean Zu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Automotive polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells are exposed to high magnitude road-induced impact loads and vibrations as well as high-level cyclic stresses due to humidity and temperature (hygrothermal) variations. The consequent plastic strain can exacerbate defects and may result in operational failure. In this study, a two-dimensional finite element model based on cohesive zone theory was employed to investigate the combined effects of hygrothermal cycle amplitude and amplitude and frequency of external vibrations on damage propagation. The simultaneous presence of hygrothermal cycles and vibrations severely intensified damage propagation within the expected fuel cell lifetime. Compared with applied vibrations, hygrothermal cycles produced a dominating effect on degradation. Under hygrothermal cycling, membrane cracks experienced more severe propagation compared to delaminations, while vibrations had a more significant effect on delaminations compared to cracks. The presence of a channel offset led to a 2.5-fold increase in delamination length compared to a case with no channel offset.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1911-1922
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Volume40
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 30 2015
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC)
Delamination
fuel cells
Fatigue of materials
electrolytes
membranes
damage
vibration
polymers
cycles
Cracks
propagation
cracks
Fuel cells
Crack propagation
Plastic deformation
Atmospheric humidity
impact loads
Membranes
Degradation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Fuel Technology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment

Cite this

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Combined effects of environmental vibrations and hygrothermal fatigue on mechanical damage in PEM fuel cells. / Banan, Roshanak; Bazylak, Aimy; Zu, Jean.

In: International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Vol. 40, No. 4, 30.01.2015, p. 1911-1922.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AB - Automotive polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells are exposed to high magnitude road-induced impact loads and vibrations as well as high-level cyclic stresses due to humidity and temperature (hygrothermal) variations. The consequent plastic strain can exacerbate defects and may result in operational failure. In this study, a two-dimensional finite element model based on cohesive zone theory was employed to investigate the combined effects of hygrothermal cycle amplitude and amplitude and frequency of external vibrations on damage propagation. The simultaneous presence of hygrothermal cycles and vibrations severely intensified damage propagation within the expected fuel cell lifetime. Compared with applied vibrations, hygrothermal cycles produced a dominating effect on degradation. Under hygrothermal cycling, membrane cracks experienced more severe propagation compared to delaminations, while vibrations had a more significant effect on delaminations compared to cracks. The presence of a channel offset led to a 2.5-fold increase in delamination length compared to a case with no channel offset.

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