Catalyst-Ionomer-Suspensions for the formation of fuel cell electrode layers

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The transformation of chemical energy to electricity in a fuel cell is getting of greater interest for many industries. The electrodes of the membrane electrode assembly (MEA) consisting of ionomers and catalyst particles on carbon black is a center piece here. The objective of this project in cooperation with the industry partner Greenerity is to get a better understanding of the materials and their interactions. Analogous to the process chain for the formation of fuel cell electrodes, the project can be subdivided as follows:

  • Characterization of chemical and physical properties of carbon black, catalyst on carbon black and ionomer as well as their interaction mechanisms
  • Dispersion and wet-grinding of the raw materials in aqueous and solvent-based media
  • Formation of thin electrode layers and analysis of the drying process
  • Investigation of morphology and structure of the dried films

The structure and the functional groups of carbon black can be characterized by Raman spectroscopy, thermogravimetric analysis and Boehm Titration. Rheological measurements as well as colloidal stability and particle size distribution measurements are conducted with the dispersions. With the help of SEM images, the electrode layers are evaluated with respect to surface morphology, layer thickness and film cracking.

 

Figure 1: SEM micrograph of an electrode layer cross-section.

 

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