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Fuel cell assembly unit for promoting fluid service and electrical conductivity

United States Patent

6,007,933
December 28, 1999
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Fluid service and/or electrical conductivity for a fuel cell assembly is promoted. Open-faced flow channel(s) are formed in a flow field plate face, and extend in the flow field plate face between entry and exit fluid manifolds. A resilient gas diffusion layer is located between the flow field plate face and a membrane electrode assembly, fluidly serviced with the open-faced flow channel(s). The resilient gas diffusion layer is restrained against entering the open-faced flow channel(s) under a compressive force applied to the fuel cell assembly. In particular, a first side of a support member abuts the flow field plate face, and a second side of the support member abuts the resilient gas diffusion layer. The support member is formed with a plurality of openings extending between the first and second sides of the support member. In addition, a clamping pressure is maintained for an interface between the resilient gas diffusion layer and a portion of the membrane electrode assembly. Preferably, the support member is spikeless and/or substantially flat. Further, the support member is formed with an electrical path for conducting current between the resilient gas diffusion layer and position(s) on the flow field plate face.
Jones; Daniel O. (Glenville, NY)
Plug Power, L.L.C. (Latham, NY)
09/ 067,098
April 27, 1998
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT RIGHTS The Government of the United States of America has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC02-94CE50389 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy.