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Shape Optimization of Fuel Cell Molded-on Gaskets for Robust Sealing

[+] Author Affiliations
Andreas Vlahinos

Advanced Engineering Solutions, LLC, Castle Rock, CO

Kenneth Kelly

National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO

Kevin Mease, Jim Stathopoulos

Plug Power, Inc., Latham, NY

Paper No. FUELCELL2006-97106, pp. 871-877; 7 pages
  • ASME 2006 4th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology
  • ASME 2006 Fourth International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology, Parts A and B
  • Irvine, California, USA, June 19–21, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: Nanotechnology Institute
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4247-9 | eISBN: 0-7918-3780-7
  • Copyright © 2006 by ASME


In typical Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cells, a compressed gasket provides a sealing barrier between cell and cooler bipolar plate interfaces. The gasket initially bears the entire bolt load, and its resisting reaction load depends on the cross-sectional shape of the gasket, bipolar plate’s groove depth, and the hyperelastic properties of the gasket material. A nonlinear, finite element analysis (FEA) model with various hyperelastic material models, large deformations, and contact was used to evaluate the load-gap curves. The deformed shapes and the distributions of stress, strain, and deflections are presented. Mooney-Rivlin and Arruda-Boyce hyperelastic material models were used, and a comparison of load-gap curves is shown. A process is presented that couples the computer-aided design geometry with the nonlinear FEA model that was used to determine the gasket’s cross-sectional shape, which achieves the desired reaction load for a given gap.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME



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