Effect of anode properties on the performance of a direct methanol fuel cell



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This thesis is an investigation of the anode of a direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) through numerical modeling and simulation. This model attempts to help better understand the two phase flow phenomena in the anode as well as to explain some of the many problems on the anode side of a DMFC and show how changing some of the anode side properties could alleviate these problems. This type of modeling is important for designing and optimizing the DMFC for specific applications like portable electronics. Understanding the losses within the DMFC like removable of carbon dioxide, conversion losses, and methanol crossover from the anode to the cathode will help the DMFC become more commercially viable. The model is based on two phase flow in porous media combined with equilibrium between phases in a porous media with contributions from a capillary pressure difference. The effect of the physical parameters of the fuel cell like the thickness, permeability, and contact angle as well as the operating conditions like the temperature and methanol feed concentration, have on the performance of the DMFC during operation will be investigated. This will show how to remove the gas phase from the anode while enabling methanol to reach the catalyst layer and minimizing methanol crossover.