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Testing on fuel cells

Fuel cells convert gaseous fuel into electrical energy with the aid of oxygen.Inside a fuel cell, complex electrochemical reactions take place that impose a heavy load on the fuel cell components over the long term and therefore require the use of fatigue-resistant materials.ZwickRoell provides various testing solutions for this purpose.

Why fuel cells?

Fuel cells convert gaseous fuel into electrical energy with the aid of oxygen.The big climate-related benefit of hydrogen conversion is the emission of water as a reaction product.In electromobility, the PEM fuel cell, which uses hydrogen as a fuel, is becoming increasingly popular.Due to its low operating temperature, high power density and acceptable efficiency, the PEM fuel cell is best suited to meet the requirements of the automotive industry.

Requirements on fuel cell testing

  • Inside a fuel cell, complex electrochemical reactions take place that impose a heavy load on the fuel cell components over the long term and therefore require the use of fatigue-resistant materials.The determination of physical properties of individual MEA components such as the bipolar plates, gas diffusion layers, membrane or seals, plays a decisive role in the design of fuel cell systems.For this purpose, electromechanical universal testing machines are the ideal solution, since due to their excellent positioning accuracy and very precise acquisition of force, compression and deformation data, all of these tests can be performed individually and often also in combination.
  • Bipolar plates made of metal or graphiteare typically tested for flexural and compressive strength.In addition, bipolar plates are also mechanically tested in combination with MEA and gas diffusion layers.
  • Gas diffusion layers play an important role in gas and electron transport.For this purpose, especially the compression behavior, electrical conductivity and gas permeability are determined under various levels of pressure.
  • For membranes and seals it is of particular interest to determine the deformation and sealing performance under realistic loads.
  • It is also very important to understand the highly accurate compressibilityof complete fuel cell stacks and incorporate resulting findings in the production parameters.

Testing solutions for fuel cells

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