Research Papers

Experimental Investigation on the Process-Induced Damage of a Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Assembled by the Printed Circuit Board Technique

[+] Author and Article Information
Yean-Der Kuan

Department of Refrigeration, Air-Conditioning and Energy Engineering, National Chin-Yi University of Technology, Taiping City, Taichung County 411, Taiwan

Chia-Hao Chang

Department of Aerospace Engineering, Antig Technology Co., Ltd., Taipei, 114 Taiwan

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 6(1), 011016 (Nov 10, 2008) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2971130 History: Received June 14, 2007; Revised October 15, 2007; Published November 10, 2008

The printed circuit board (PCB)-based direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) package is a novel manufacturing and assembly process, which is full potential in mass production, and very limited literatures make study on the effects of the related process parameters. The hot press is a necessary and key process to make the PCB package, i.e., the key component of a DMFC, membrane electrode assemblies (MEA), needs to sustain a severe test. In order to minimize the process-induced damage of the MEAs, it is important to make a good control on the process parameters. Therefore, the objective of this paper is to present a methodology to explore a good combination of hot-press parameters. The considered parameters include the compression ratio of the MEA, heating time, heating temperature, and hot pressing pressure acting on the MEA. During the experimental investigation, a series of experiments was made first to discuss the effect of the individual parameter of the hot-press process on the MEA performance, wherein a reasonable range of each process parameter condition was able to be well defined. Moreover, the Taguchi experimental method was adopted to explore the parameter effects on the DMFC performance during the digital packaging process and to determine the best combination of parameter conditions. At the end, a MEA was made a hot press under the best parameter combination, which could verify the result obtained from Taguchi’s experiments. The result is able to be an important reference for the future manufacturing design guideline of PCB-based DMFC package.

Copyright © 2009 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Exploded detail of a three-cell PCB DMFC laminates and final assembly module. (a) Three-Cell DMFC laminates. (b) Three-Cell PCB DMFC module.

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Figure 2

Schematic of the hot-press machine

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Figure 3

Prepreg resin curing curves under different temperatures

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Figure 4

Heating and cooling areas of a DMFC module during the manufacturing process

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Figure 5

Schematic of the PCB DMFC hot-press fixture

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Figure 6

Mechanism of air cooling on the MEAs

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Figure 7

Imitative single cell PCB DMFC current collector

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Figure 8

Exploded view of the single cell DMFC test vehicle

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Figure 9

Experimental setup of the MEA performance test

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Figure 10

Schematic of the input quality control (IQC) procedure

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Figure 11

Cell resistance under different compression ratios

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Figure 12

DMFC cell performance degradation under different hot pressing pressures. (a) Hot pressing pressure=12psi. (b) Hot pressing pressure=24psi. (c) Hot pressing pressure=36psi. (d) Performance degradation comparison.

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Figure 13

Plot of factor effect of cell performance degradation by experiments

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Figure 14

Six-cell PCB-based DMFC module (double sides: three-cells at each side)

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Figure 15

Comparison of the average cell performance before and after the PCB process



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