Stress and plastic deformation of MEA in fuel cells. Stresses generated during cell assembly

Daniil Bograchev, Mikael Gueguen, Jean Claude Grandidier, Serguei Martemianov

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73 Scopus citations


A linear elastic-plastic 2D model of fuel cell with hardening is developed for analysis of mechanical stresses in MEA arising in cell assembly procedure. The model includes the main components of real fuel cell (membrane, gas diffusion layers, graphite plates, and seal joints) and clamping elements (steel plates, bolts, nuts). The stress and plastic deformation in MEA are simulated with ABAQUS code taking into account the realistic clamping conditions. The stress distributions are obtained on the local and the global scales. The first one corresponds to the single tooth/channel structure. The global scale deals with features of the entire cell (the seal joint and the bolts). Experimental measurements of the residual membrane deformations have been provided at different bolts torques. The experimental data are in a good agreement with numerical predictions concerning the beginning of the plastic deformation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-401
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Issue number1
StatePublished - 15 May 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Fuel cell design
  • Mechanical response
  • Nafion
  • Proton exchange membrane (PEM)


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