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Chinese Journal of Space Science ›› 2020, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (3): 382-393.doi: 10.11728/cjss2020.03.382

• Research Aeticles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Numerical Simulation of Two-phase Heat Flow and Water Distribution for Water Electrolyzer in Microgravity

LIU Xiaotian1,2, WU Chuanjia3,4, MA Peng3,4, WANG Shuangfeng3,4, LI Mingyu1, YIN Yongli2,5   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Advanced Welding and Joining, Harbin Institute of Technology at Shenzhen, Shenzhen 518055;
    2. Space Science and Technology Institute, Shenzhen 518055;
    3. Key Laboratory of Microgravity, Institute of Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190;
    4. School of Engineering Science, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049;
    5. National Key Laboratory of Human Factors Engineering, China Astronaut Research and Training Center, Beijing 100094
  • Received:2020-02-25 Revised:2020-04-09 Published:2020-06-08

Abstract: Water electrolysis technology is a green-hydrogen process, and it is also a critical oxygen filling technology for medium- and long-term manned space missions. To study the effect of gravity on the performance of solid polymer water electrolyzer, the 3D two-phase model and the system model of electrolyzer were established. The water distribution, flow and temperature field were simulated and the effects of microgravity and normal-gravity on the electrolyzer were analyzed. When the electrolyzer placed in microgravity or horizontally, the numerical simulation of the electrolyzer with single-cell showed that the flow and the temperature fields in the electrolyzer are distributed uniformly. However, when the electrolyzer was placed vertically and water supplied horizontally, the water shortage appeared in the electrolyzer due to the oxygen gathered in the upper part. The numerical simulation of the system model indicated that the water distribution of the system is nonuniform in both normal-gravity and microgravity conditions. When the electrolyzer system was placed horizontally, the system flow rates firstly decrease then increase from the bottom cell to the top cell. While when the electrolyzer system was placed in microgravity or vertically, the system flow rates always increase from the bottom cell to the top cell.

Key words: Water electrolysis, Numerical simulation, Gravity effect, Two-phase flow, Water distribution

CLC Number: