Kumaran Murugesan Chakravarthy
Kumaran Murugesan Chakravarthy is a Ph.D. candidate completing his dissertation this semester under the supervision of Dr. David Bourell. His dissertation research focuses on laser sintering for high electrical conduction applications.
Direct methanol fuel cells (DMFC) hold distinct advantages over traditional hydrogen-based fuel cells. Their commercialization, however, has been bound by many factors – especially their sub-optimal efficiency. This work aims at enhancing the performance of DMFC through the use corrugated flow field plates. The objectives are two-fold: (1) to increase the power density of DMFC by corrugating flow field plates and (2), to introduce laser sintering (LS) as an efficient and robust method for the manufacture of such plates.
The results show that the particle size of the material used, Graphite, has a significant effect upon the green strength of LS parts.
Corrugated flow field plates with 10% more surface area as compared to a planar design were made by LS and tested in a DMFC environment.
Performance of corrugated flow field plates with 10% higher surface area (as compared to planar plates), channel width and depth of 2 mm and an electrode area of 5 cm2 was reported. This study is the first experimental approach to the use of indirect LS for making such fuel cell components.