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Technical Briefs

Slot-Die Coating: A New Preparation Method for Direct Methanol Fuel Cells Catalyst Layers

[+] Author and Article Information
Andreas Glüsen

e-mail: a.gluesen@fz-juelich.de

Detlef Stolten

Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH,
Institute of Energy and Climate Research,
IEK-3: Electrochemical Process Engineering,
52425 Jülich, Germany

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Fuel Cell Science and Technology. Manuscript received March 20, 2013; final manuscript received May 15, 2013; published online June 17, 2013. Editor: Nigel M. Sammes.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 10(4), 044503 (Jun 17, 2013) (4 pages) Paper No: FC-13-1031; doi: 10.1115/1.4024607 History: Received March 20, 2013; Revised May 15, 2013

Manufacturing of catalyst layers is one of the key processing steps in making membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) for direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs). The catalyst ink, which usually contains catalysts, ionomers, solvents, and additives, is generally applied to the substrate by a wet-coating technique. Established coating techniques which are used for manufacturing catalyst layers for fuel cells are knife-coating, screen-printing, and spraying. Slot-die coating is also an established coating technique, but not currently used for making fuel cell electrodes. For each coating technique the properties of the catalyst layer will depend on the properties of the coating technique and the properties of the substrate. Also each coating technique requires the catalyst ink to be adjusted to its specific rheological requirements. In this study, slot-die coating is developed as a new method for the continuous manufacture of catalyst layers for direct methanol fuel cells. The rheological demands for a homogeneous layer thickness are studied with model inks and a suitable catalyst ink is prepared. With this ink, decal electrodes are fabricated and CCM-type MEAs are made. Fuel cell tests show that the performance of the slot-die coated electrodes is comparable to electrodes made by knife-coating.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Slot-die used for testing distribution along its width and for coating with carbon ink. A flat plate is used to close the slot-die.

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Fig. 2

Flow-curve of carbon ink

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Fig. 3

Distribution of the ink along the width of the slot-die for different dosing speeds

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Fig. 4

Coating weight distribution of carbon model ink

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Fig. 5

Flow-curve of carbon ink and catalyst ink

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Fig. 6

Cell voltage of slot-die CCM compared to knife-coating GDE as a cathode in a DMFC

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