Representative model and flow characteristics of open pore cellular foam and potential use in proton exchange membrane fuel cells

J.G. Carton, A.G. Olabi

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43 Citations (Scopus)


This study develops a Representative Unit Cell Structure (RUCS) model for Open Pore Cellular Foam (OPCF) material, based on a dodecahedron cell. Pressure, velocity and flow regime analysis is performed on simulation results of six different OPCFs, (10, 20, 30, 40, 45, 80 and 100 ppi), at five different inlet velocities (1 m/s, 3 m/s, 6 m/s, 9 m/s & 12 m/s). Pressure drop results were verified by numerical models (Dupuit–Forchheimer, Ashby and Fourie and Du Plessis mathematical models) and experimental results from literature. From this study OPCF material can have benefits if used in a PEM fuel cell; in place of or in conjunction with conventional flow plates. It is concluded that OPCF materials can reduce the permeability of the gas flow through a flow plate, creating a more tortuous path for the fluid, allowing for diffusion plus convection based flow, unlike conventional flow plates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5726-5738
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2015



  • PEM fuel cell
  • Flow plate
  • Metal foam
  • Pressure drop
  • CFD
  • Flow analysis

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