Meeting #7 – Still not Electroplating

After a few weeks break, the open fuel cell team meets again. This time at the Chair of Manufacturing Engineering. 

Open Fuel Cells travel to Mannheim

Burghard immediately starts to report: Alexandra and himself sent the fuel cell which we assembled in a previous meeting, together with another fuel cell (with reference electrode) to Prof. Nilüfer Baba at HS Mannheim. The asked for a few open fuel cells because they would like to test if they can base the experiments in their practical classes entirely on the open fuel cell.

Hydrogen Source

We again discuss the issue of the hydrogen source. We think that the commercially available Hydrosticks might be a good option. These are small metal hydride storage capsules which contain 10 standard liters of hydrogen under low pressure. With the pressure reducer which is available from the same company you get hydrogen from these capsules at 0.4 to 0.55 bar. Thus far, the open fuel cells at ZBT where run with a fancy pressure reducer at 100 mbar. 

The test of whether the Open Fuel Cell will also withstand the increased pressure from the hydrosticks is still pending. Burghard and Alexandra want to tackle this. Just in case, however, Burghard has already printed a stiffer pressure plate with a material called greentech pro, which is reinforced with carbon. The hydrosticks were already used when Burghard visited the Luisenschule [LINK will follow], but with a fancy pressure reducer. We are excited what will come out of Alexandra’s and Burgahrd’s tests with the simple pressure reducer, which they will carry out in the next couple of weeks.

Electroplating set

We have ordered and now received an electroplating set from Amazon. However, when unboxing, we encountered a problem: the electroplating tank is really small and can hold only half of our flowfield (or open electrode). I already noted that a couple of days ago and asked Frauke for help – so today she brought an SLA 3D-printed tank which is large enough to hold our flowfield.

However, we immediately realize the next problem: the electrode which comes with the set now is too small for the new tank. Also, it would be better to have the tank being open on the long side, not the short one. Frauke says that is no problem and that she will adopt the design and bring a new tank to the next meeting.

For the electrode, I browse the internet and find an online shop where one can order made-to-measure stainless steel plates. I order a plate with 170mm length and 55mm width (a bit larger than our PCB plates of 150mm x 50mm). Everyone in the room seems to be outraged about the price of 16,17 Euro. I think that’s more than fair for a business that needs to store stainless steel, cut it to measure, pack it and ship it (and operate the webshop and other overhead). So I order the plate and we really hope that in the next meeting we can finally do the Nickel- and Gold-electroplating.

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