Development of tests to assess GDL stability during MEA production
Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc. is engaged in producing fuel cell stacks for automotive applications. The plant in Burnaby BC is the exclusive fuel cell manufacturer for Mercedes-Benz worldwide (marking the world's first large-scale production facility for automotive fuel cells.) The Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell Division (MBFC) has shown interest in active collaborations with Canadian universities and research institutes to advance manufacturing processes and engage leading Canadian scientists. In early 2013, an NSERC Engage grant enabled the first collaboration between MBFC and Dr. Merida's group at the University of British Columbia (UBC). The present proposal builds on the results activities within the Engage project, and it represents the first step in a long-term collaboration. Among several manufacturing steps, the unwinding of as-supplied MEA materials is considered one of the most critical steps in the fuel cell production. The number of stages in which the GDL material is exposed to mechanical stress adds to the complexity of deterministic analyses. Consequently, the impact of this process on the physicochemical properties and performance of the GDL materials remains unknown, and it requires new characterization strategies.