Measurement and modeling of liquid film thickness evolution in stratified two-phase microchannel flows

Julie E. Steinbrenner, Carlos H. Hidrovo, Fu Min Wang, Sebastien Vigneron, Eon Soo Lee, Theresa A. Kramer, Ching Hsiang Cheng, John K. Eaton, Kenneth E. Goodson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells incorporating microchannels (D < 500 μm) can benefit from improved fuel delivery and convective cooling. However, this requires a better understanding of two-phase microchannel transport phenomena, particularly liquid-gas interactions and liquid clogging in cathode air-delivery channels. This paper develops optical fluorescence imaging of water films in hydrophilic channels with varying air velocity and water injection rate. Micromachined silicon test structures with optical access and distributed water injection simulate the cathode channels of a PEM fuel cell. Film thickness data vary strongly with air velocity and are consistent with stratified flow modeling. This work facilitates the study of regime transitions in two-phase microchannel flows and the effects of flow regimes on heat and mass transfer and axial pressure gradients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1722-1727
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


  • Fluorescent imaging
  • Liquid film
  • Microchannel
  • Stratified flow
  • Two-phase


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