Technical Briefs

Maximizing the Use of Platinum Catalyst by Ultrasonic Spray Application

[+] Author and Article Information
Robb Engle

Technical Services Director Sono-Tek Corporation, Milton, NY e-mail: rengle@sono-tek.com

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 9(1), 014501 (Dec 27, 2011) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4004462 History: Received December 28, 2010; Revised May 10, 2011; Published December 27, 2011; Online December 27, 2011

The following discusses the method and advantages of ultrasonic deposition of carbon-based platinum ink solution onto catalytic membranes in the manufacture of platinum-based fuel cells, doubling industry standard performances. Using patented ultrasonic atomization technology (Ultrasonic atomization technology provided by Sono-Tek) conductive properties are compared to those of films created with hydraulic deposition and paste printing methods, using comprehensive analysis of morphology characteristics, deposition density, and distribution of platinum particles throughout the thickness and surface area of the coating. Results indicate significant increase in uniform distribution of platinum particles using the ultrasonic deposition method. Measured electrochemically active Pt surface area using ultrasonic atomization was recorded as high as 71% of the total Pt particle surface area.

Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Model of PEM fuel cell theory

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Figure 10

Comparison of median drop size [7]

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Figure 11

SEM of catalyst coating deposited with air atomization versus ultrasonic atomization (photo courtesy Sono-Tek)

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Figure 4

Model of comparative dispersion characteristics of Carbon-Pt inks

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Figure 3

Examples of knife coating uniformity compared with ultrasonic spray (theoretical model) [4]

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Figure 2

Platinum pricing five year (USD per TroyOZ) [3]

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Figure 5

Cross section illustration of a Sono-Tek ultrasonic atomizing nozzle

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Figure 6

Illustration of wave formation and atomization

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Figure 7

Capillary waves in liquid

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Figure 8

Illustration of comparison between particle distribution in an ultrasonic droplet and air spray droplet

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Figure 9

SEM of ultrasonic coating of Pt catalyst ink (photo courtesy of Sono-Tek)

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Figure 12

Highest power density curves versus competingtechnology(courtesy of Paxitech Laboratory results)

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Figure 13

Polarization Curves for MEAs with different Pt loading(courtesy of Paxitech Laboratory results)

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Figure 14

Tafel plots for Sono-Tek coated MEAs with different Pt loading(courtesy of Paxitech Laboratory results)

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Figure 15

Cyclic voltammetry results for various MEAs prepared with low Pt content catalyst inks (courtesy of Paxitech Laboratory results)



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