Investigation of Two-Phase Transport Phenomena in Microchannels Using a Microfabricated Experimental Structure,

Wang, F.-M., Steinbrenner, J. E., Hidrovo, C. H., Kramer, T. A., Lee, E. S., Vigneron, S., Cheng, C.-H., Eaton, J. K. and Goodson, K. E., 2007, "Investigation of Two-Phase Transport Phenomena in Microchannels Using a Microfabricated Experimental Structure," Applied Thermal Engineering, Vol. 27, pp. 1728-1733.

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Microchannels (0.05–1 mm) improve gas routing in proton exchange membrane fuel cells, but add to the complexities of water management.  This work microfabricates experimental structures with distributed water injection as well as with heating and temperature sensing capabilities to study water formation and transport. The samples feature optical access to allow visualization and distributed thermometry for investigation of two-phase flow transport phenomena in the microchannels. The temperature evolution along the channel is observed that the temperature downstream of the distributed water injection decreases as the pressure drop increases. As the water injection rate is lower than 200 ll/min, there exists a turning point where temperature increases as the pressure drop increases further. These micromachined structures with integrated temperature sensors and heaters are key to the experimental investigation as well as visualization of two-phase flow and water transport phenomena in microchannels for fuel cell applications.

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