Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)


Mechanical Engineering

First Committee Member

Yitung Chen

Number of Pages



Although water is fed controllably into the flow channels in the bipolar plates surrounding the membrane electrode assembly (MEA), the complex flow geometry can lead to non-uniformity of the flow and temperature distribution inside the channels. In addition, non-uniform temperature distribution in the cell will affect the electrochemical process for hydrogen production or fuel cell applications. There are many studies on the theoretical analysis of fuel cells, but not many have been reported on the characteristics of the PEM electrolyzer; In this thesis work, numerical simulations were carried out on the basic bipolar plate given by the Proton Energy Systems in the United States. A 3-D steady state, incompressible flow model was developed. Finite volume method was used to solve the model for flow and temperature distributions inside the channels of the bipolar plate; A parametric study was performed based on number of inlets and outlets and an optimized bipolar plate design was selected. Later, the optimized model was again simulated for two-phase flow. The flow and temperature distributions inside the channels of the new bipolar plate design were found to be uniform even for two-phase flow. Again a parametric study was performed based on volumetric flow rate of water and mass flow rate of oxygen production. Results were tabulated and numerical values were compared with the back of the envelope calculations.


Bipolar; Design; Distribution; Flow; Numerical; Optimization; Plate; Techniques; Temperature

Controlled Subject

Mechanical engineering

File Format


File Size

2273.28 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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