Tuesday, February 22, 2011

US Patent 7892596 - Nanoparticle coating process for fuel cell components


This patent from GM discloses techniques for coating electrolyte polymers and nanoparticles on bipolar plates or membrane electrodes of fuel cells. Claim 1 reads:

1. A process comprising:

applying an aqueous solution comprising a polyelectrolyte polymer to the fuel cell component so that at least a portion of the polyelectrolyte polymer adheres to at least a portion of the component the polyelectrolyte polymer comprising first functional groups;

submerging a fuel cell component in a bath comprising nanoparticles comprising second functional groups and a liquid phase comprising a nanoparticle dispersion agent;

removing the fuel cell component from the bath so that a coating of nanoparticles adheres to the polyelectrolyte polymer adhered to the fuel cell component and wherein the first functional group and second functional group form an ionic bond;

rinsing the fuel cell component to remove any nanoparticles not sufficiently adhered to the fuel cell component prior to drying the coating; and

drying the coating.