Optimization study on fuel cell cathode oxygen flow path for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle using computational visualization

전산 가시화를 통한 무인 항공기용 연료전지 양극 산소 유로 최적화 연구

  • Received : 2019.04.10
  • Accepted : 2019.04.29
  • Published : 2019.04.30


Numerical visualization is conducted to confirm the variation of flow characteristics and pressure drop by the shape of channels on the cathode flow path in hydrogen fuel cells for unmanned aerial vehicles(UAVs). Generally, a light-weight fan is commonly used rather than a heavy air compressor at UAVS. However, in case of blower fan, a large pressure drop in the flow path causes the blocking of the oxygen supply to the fuel cell. Therefore, the uniformity of flow inside the cathode has to be achieved by changing the shape of the cathode. The flow channel, the duct shape, and the diameter of the fan are changed to optimize the flow path. As a result, it is confirmed that the optimal flow path can decrease the velocity difference between the center and outer flow by 1.8%. However, It should be noted that the channel size can increase the pressure drop.

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Fig. 1. Geometry of 1/4 PEMFC with open cathode and ducts

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Fig. 2. Cross section of open cathode channels for PEMFC with three cases of duct (a) flat (b) spherical (c) concave

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Fig. 4. Geometry of PEMFC with three cases of duct diameter(a) 20 mm (b) 40 mm (c) 60 mm

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Fig. 5. Channel divisions of 1/4 Geometry cross section(a) Center (b) Outer edge

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Fig. 6. Channel depth-Velocity distribution Diagram

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Fig. 7. Velocity distribution of PEMFC cross section (x, y axis)

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Fig. 8. The difference of flow pattern due to Duct Shape(a) flat (b) spherical (c) concave

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Fig. 9. Duct diameter - Velocity distribution Diagram

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Fig. 10. Velocity distribution of PEMFC cross section (z axis)

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Fig. 11. Channel depth - Pressure drop diagram

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Fig. 12. Duct diameter – Pressure drop diagram

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Fig. 3. Cross section of open cathode channels for PEMFC with three cases of channel depth

Table 1. Grid dependency table

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Table 2. Velocity distribution

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Supported by : 서울시립대학교


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