Heat and water transport in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) has considerable impacts on cell performance under high current density which is desired in PEMFC for automobiles. In this study, the impact of rib/channel, heat and water transport on cell performance under high current density was investigated by experimental evaluation of liquid water distribution and numerical validation. Liquid water distribution between rib and channel is evaluated by Neutron Radiography. In order to neglect the effect of liquid water in channel and the distribution of oxygen and hydrogen concentration distribution along with channel length, the differential cell was used in this study. Experimental results show that liquid water under channel was dramatically changed with Rib/Channel width. From numerical study, it is found that the change of liquid water distribution was strongly affected by temperature distribution between rib and channel. In addition, not only heat transport but also water transport through membrane also significantly affected cell performance under high current density operation. From numerical validation, it is concluded that this effect on cell performance under high current density could be due to the enhancement of back-diffusion of water through membrane.

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