The use of a high temperature wind tunnel for MT-SOFC testing-Part II: Use of computational fluid dynamics software in order to study previous measurements

V. Lawlor*, C. Hochenauer, S. Griesser, G. Zauner, G. Buchinger, D. Meissner, A. G. Olabi, K. Klein, S. Kuehn, S. Cordiner, A. Mariani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Micro-tubular solid oxide fuel cells (MT-SOFCs) are a much smaller version of larger tubular SOFCs. They are operational within seconds and allow a higher power density per volume than the larger version. Hence they are a potential technology for automotive, auxiliary and small scale power supply devices. In this study a commercially available computational fluid dynamic (CFD) software program was used to predict a MT-SOFCs performance when located inside a high temperature wind tunnel experimental apparatus. In Part I, experimentally measured temperature profiles were recorded via thermo-graphic analyses and I/V curves. These measurements were used in this study to establish the predictability and validity of the CFD code and furthermore understand the MT-SOFC attributes measured in Part I. A maximum 4 I/V curve deviation and 6 K temperature deviation between the experimentally measured and model predicted results was observed. Thus, the model predicted the MT-SOFCs performance in the experimental environment very accurately. A very critical observation was the current density and temperature profile across the MT-SOFC that was strongly dependent on the distance from the hydrogen/fuel inlet. Not only was the model validated but also a grid and quantitative solution analysis is explicitly shown and discussed. This resulted in the optimum grid density and the indication that a normally undesirable high grid aspect ratio is acceptable for similar MT-SOFC modeling. These initial simulations and grid/solution analysis are the prerequisite before performing a further study including multiple MT-SOFCs within a stack using different fuels is also envisaged.

Original languageEnglish
Article number061019
JournalJournal of Fuel Cell Science and Technology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • computational fluid dynamics
  • high temperature wind tunnel
  • micro-tubular solid oxide fuel cell
  • radiation
  • stack design
  • thermo-graphic camera

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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