A finite element analysis modeling tool for solid oxide fuel cell development: Coupled electrochemistry, thermal and flow analysis in MARC®

M. A. Khaleel, Z. Lin, P. Singh, W. Surdoval, D. Collin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

145 Citations (Scopus)


A 3D simulation tool for modeling solid oxide fuel cells is described. The tool combines the versatility and efficiency of a commercial finite element analysis code, MARC®, with an in-house developed robust and flexible electrochemical (EC) module. Based upon characteristic parameters obtained experimentally and assigned by the user, the EC module calculates the current density distribution, heat generation, and fuel and oxidant species concentration, taking the temperature profile provided by MARC® and operating conditions such as the fuel and oxidant flow rate and the total stack output voltage or current as the input. MARC® performs flow and thermal analyses based on the initial and boundary thermal and flow conditions and the heat generation calculated by the EC module. The main coupling between MARC® and EC is for MARC® to supply the temperature field to EC and for EC to give the heat generation profile to MARC®. The loosely coupled, iterative scheme is advantageous in terms of memory requirement, numerical stability and computational efficiency. The coupling is iterated to self-consistency for a steady-state solution. Sample results for steady states as well as the startup process for stacks with different flow designs are presented to illustrate the modeling capability and numerical performance characteristic of the simulation tool.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-148
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2004
Externally publishedYes



  • Computer modeling
  • Electrochemical reaction
  • Finite element method
  • Flow model
  • Solid oxide fuel cell
  • Thermal analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrochemistry
  • Fuel Technology
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Energy (miscellaneous)

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