The aim of the research project "Humidifier" is the development of a functional concept for the precise adjustment of the air humidity during the operation of a fuel cell. The air humidity plays a decisive role for the efficiency and degradation processes in the fuel cell.
The design of a humidifier is very similar to the design of a fuel cell. They consist of a number of plates with a membrane between them. Currently, fuel cell stacks are mainly made of metallic plates. The advantage of metal is that to achieve a leakage-free system, it is possible to compress the stack with high compression without the material failing. In this project, it is planned to implement a concept using plastic plates from the injection molding process, which offer great geometric freedom and a cost advantage compared to metallic plates. When using plastics, the problem is that they tend to creep under strong compression, causing the system to fail. This process is exacerbated by temperature stress and humidity. Within the project, methods for the strength design of plastics under compression and temperature loading are to be researched, which can later be used for the design of pressure-loaded systems. This includes, for example, the development of testing devices for determining material characteristics under long-term loading. The results from these tests will be used to derive a method for the strength design of plastics under compression loading and constructive compensations for the component. In particular, a concept for the strength design is to be based on an energetic consideration. Each type of load (temperature, compression,...) performs work on the material until it fails. From this strength design method in the compression range, sealing concepts are then to be developed which represent a functional solution under the strength boundary conditions and have a tolerance and load-balancing effect.
Duration: December 2022 - November 2025
Project partner: Knipping Kunststofftechnik Gessmann GmbH, https://knipping-automotive.com/new-mobility/
Contact: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Matthias Deckert, Simon Heienbrock, M.Sc.