Validation methodology for PEM fuel cell three-dimensional simulation

Biao Xie, Meng Ni, Guobin Zhang, Xia Sheng, Houwen Tang, Yifan Xu, Guizhen Zhai, Kui Jiao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


For modeling and simulation of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell, validation has been an essential and challenging task. This study implements a comprehensive validation including both overall cell performance and local distribution characteristics under different operating conditions with experimental data from two public sources. Polarization curve, cell ohmic resistance, current density distribution and temperature distribution are all involved. A “three dimensional + one dimensional” (“3D+1D”) model is adopted which simplifies part of cell components in order to boost the calculation efficiency. The validation methodology is clarified by listing those undetermined model parameters and analyzing their “accessibility” as well as correlations with the three kinds of voltage losses (activation, ohmic and mass transfer). It is found that the control regions of ohmic voltage loss and concentration voltage loss overlap among a wide current density range, which may lead to misjudgment in the validation process. The details of parameter adjustment are also shared. Simulation results of the two validation tests both obtain decent agreement with the experiments and reflect consistent variation trends as the condition changes. The liquid water in gas channel is proved to have a double effect on cell performance and should be taken into careful consideration especially under low humidification and high current density working conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122705
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2022


  • Channel liquid water
  • Current density distribution
  • PEM fuel cell
  • Three-dimensional simulation
  • Validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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