Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Ismail B. Celik

Committee Co-Chair

Andrei Smirnov


The presence of multiple air and fuel channels per fuel cell and the need to combine many cells in series result in complex steady-state temperature distributions within Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) stacks. Flow distribution in these channels, when non-uniform, has a significant effect on cell and stack performance. Large SOFC stacks are very difficult to model using full 3-D CFD codes because of the resource requirements needed to solve for the many scales involved. Studies have shown that implementations based on Reduced Order Methods (ROM), if calibrated appropriately, can provide simulations of stacks consisting of more than 20 cells with reasonable computational effort.;A pseudo 2-D SOFC stack model capable of studying co-flow and counter-flow cell geometries was developed by solving multiple 1-D SOFC single cell models in parallel on a Beowulf cluster. In order to study cross-flow geometries a novel Multi-Component Multi-Physics (MCMP) scheme was instantiated to produce a Reduced Order 3-D Fuel Cell Model. A C++ implementation of the MCMP scheme developed in this study utilized geometry, control volume, component, and model structures allowing each physical model to be solved only for those components for which it is relevant. Channel flow dynamics were solved using a 1-D flow model to reduce computational effort.;A parametric study was conducted to study the influence of mass flow distribution, radiation, and stack size on fuel cell stack performance. Using the pseudo 2-D planar SOFC stack model with stacks of various sizes from 2 to 40 cells it was shown that, with adiabatic wall conditions, the asymmetry of the individual cell can produce a temperature distribution where high and low temperatures are found in the top and bottom cells, respectively. Heat transfer mechanisms such as radiation were found to affect the reduction of the temperature gradient near the top and bottom cell. Results from the reduced order 3-D fuel cell model showed that greater thermal gradients can be observed in the cross-flow geometry than in the co-flow geometry.