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Manifold Seal Locator Groove In Fuel Cell Stack Repeating Parts

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000009797D
Publication Date: 2002-Sep-19
Document File: 1 page(s) / 235K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

A groove is placed in the repeating parts of a fuel cell stack assembly, such parts being, for example, the indvidual fuel cell backing layers and the separator plates. The groove assists in sealing manifolds to the fuel cell stack assembly, overcoming the "skyline" problem that frequently occurs when multiple repeating parts are assembled together.

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MANIFOLD SEAL LOCATOR GROOVE IN FUEL CELL STACK

REPEATING PARTS

     Fuel cell stacks comprise a nuni>er of parts, including unitized electrode asseni>lies ("UEA's") and external manifolds. A UEA is a combination of an electrolyte ~mbrane, catalyst, and support layers. A UEA form; the core of a single fuel cell, and nunr:rous fuel cells can be ganged together to forDl a fuel cell stack.

     In a typical UEA the nr.mbrane is sandwiched between the support layers, and the catalyst is placed on the ~mbrane surfaces and or the surfaces of the support layers facing the ~mbrane. The support layers can be made from a material such as carbon fiber cloth and are bonded to the ~mbrane to give the UEA a degree of structural rigidity. The support layers may also include gas distribution channels for transporting the reactants, such as air or oxygen (i.e. oxidant), and hydrogen (i.e. fuel), from external manifolds to the ~mbrane so that the desired electrochemical reaction can occur.

     UEA's are known as "repeating parts", because mJltiple UEA' s of like design are used in a repeating fashion in the fuel cell Stack. Another repeating part is a separator plate that separates adjacent fuel cells within the stack. Such plates may be bi-polar, and they may be either solid or porous. If porous, such plates are often designed with pores to hold product water (fomr;d in the electrochemical reaction) to create a gas barrier that prevents oxidant and fuel from crossing between adjacent fuel cells within the fuel cell stack. These types of porous plates are oftentinr;s referred to as water transport plates ("WfP's").

     The fuel cell Stack, made up of the repeating UEA's and separator plates,...