Indirect Laser Sintering of Corrugated Flow Field Plates for Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Applications

Date

2011-08-17

Authors

Chakravarthy, Kumaran M.
Bourell, David L.

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Publisher

University of Texas at Austin

Abstract

Direct methanol fuel cells (DMFC) hold distinct advantages over traditional hydrogen-based fuel cells. Their commercialization, however, has been bound by many factors – especially their suboptimal efficiency. This work aims at enhancing the performance of DMFC through the use of corrugated flow field plates. Our objectives are two-fold – one, to increase the power density of DMFC by corrugating flow field plates and two, to introduce Laser sintering (LS) as an efficient and robust method for the manufacture of such plates. Corrugated flow field plates with 10% more surface area as compared to a planar design were made by LS & tested in a DMFC environment. Our results show that the particle size of the material used – Graphite – has a significant effect upon the green strength of LS parts. We also report the performance of corrugated flow field plates with 10% higher surface area (as compared to planar plates), channel width and depth of 2mm and an electrode area of 5 cm2. This study is the first experimental approach to the use of indirect LS for making such fuel cell components.

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