Category Archives: Composites

Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) Fuel Cells (PEFC) | Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) Fuel Cells

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Polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells—also called proton exchange membrane fuel cells—deliver high-power density and offer the advantages of low weight and volume, compared with other fuel cells. PEM fuel cells use a solid polymer as an electrolyte and porous carbon electrodes containing a platinum catalyst. They need only hydrogen, oxygen from the air, and water to operate and do not require corrosive fluids like some fuel cells. They are typically fueled with pure hydrogen supplied from storage tanks or on-board reformers.

PEM Technology:

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Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells operate at relatively low temperatures, around 80°C (176°F). Low-temperature operation allows them to start quickly (less warm-up time) and results in less wear on system components, resulting in better durability. However, it requires that a noble-metal catalyst (typically platinum) be used to separate the hydrogen’s electrons and protons, adding to system cost. The platinum catalyst is also extremely sensitive to CO poisoning, making it necessary to employ an additional reactor to reduce CO in the fuel gas if the hydrogen is derived from an alcohol or hydrocarbon fuel. This also adds cost. Developers are currently exploring platinum/ruthenium catalysts that are more resistant to CO.

PEM Fuel Cell Applications:

PEM fuel cells are used primarily for transportation applications and some stationary applications. Due to their fast startup time, low sensitivity to orientation, and favorable power-to-weight ratio, PEM fuel cells are particularly suitable for use in passenger vehicles, such as cars and buses.

Disadvantages of Fuel Cell:

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A significant barrier to using these fuel cells in vehicles is hydrogen storage. Most fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) powered by pure hydrogen must store the hydrogen on-board as a compressed gas in pressurized tanks. Due to the low-energy density of hydrogen, it is difficult to store enough hydrogen on-board to allow vehicles to travel the same distance as gasoline-powered vehicles before refueling, typically 300–400 miles. Higher-density liquid fuels, such as methanol, ethanol, natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, and gasoline, can be used for fuel, but the vehicles must have an on-board fuel processor to reform the methanol to hydrogen. This requirement increases costs and maintenance. The reformer also releases carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas), though less than that emitted from current gasoline-powered engines.

Quantum Tunnelling Composite (QTC) | A Pressure Switching And Sensing Material Technology | Electro Mechanics Components

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QTC is a composite made from micron-sized metallic filler particles (Silicone Rubber) mixed into an elastomeric matrix. Quantum tunnelling composite is a flexible polymer that exhibits extraordinary electrical properties. In its normal state it is a perfect insulator, but when compressed it becomes a more or less perfect conductor and able to pass very high currents.

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History:

First produced in 1996, QTC is a composite material made from conductive filler particles combined with an elastomeric binder, typically silicone rubber. The unique method of combining these raw materials results in a composite which exhibits significantly different electrical properties when compared with any other electrically conductive material.

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Types of QTC:

1. Elastomeric (Material: Silicone Rubber) (The particle move close together)

2. Ink / Coating Solvent or Aqueous Polymer

3. Granular Sensors

Working of Quantum tunnelling composite:

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QTC usually comes in the form of pills or sheet. QTC pills are just tiny little pieces of the material. The sheets are composed of one layer of QTC, one layer of a conductive material, and a third layer of a plastic insulator. While QTC sheets switch quickly between high and low resistances, QTC pills are pressure sensitive variable resistors.

Application:

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– Touch switches (sheet)
– Force/pressure sensors (pills)
– Motor speed control using force (pills)

Benefits:

  • QTC is a pressure/force sensing material. It can be easily integrated into existing products to enable force sensing opportunities and solutions.
  • Product surfaces can be incorporated, coated or impregnated with QTC to impart the properties of force sensing into or onto the host surface.
  • QTC material can be formed or moulded into virtually any size, thickness or shape, permitting redesign of product interfaces and providing improved ergonomics, aesthetics and user comfort.
  • QTC is an enabling technology which is simple and reliable to use.
  • QTC material is durable – it has no moving parts to wear out.
  • QTC material is mechanically strong.
  • QTC material can be made to withstand extreme temperatures limits.
  • QTC material is versatile, both electrically and physically e.g. Its range and sensitivity can be altered. QTC material is also intrinsically safe – the material is a contactless switch, ideal for sparkless operation.
  • QTC material can be directly interfaced to standard electronic and electrical devices.
  • QTC material and/or technology can be customized for customer requirements, applications and products.