We work with commercial cells and stacks as well as with in-house manufactured single cells. We design and assemble novel devices by focusing on the sub-component level (electrodes, seals, current collection, manifolds) to obtain an optimized cell or stack with improved performance, with longer lifetime, and lower specific costs.
We are interested in understanding the degradation mechanisms affecting each sub-component in the cell and in finding ways to prevent them. Therefore, we develop testing protocols to characterize the beginning-of-life and end-of-life performance of cells, as well as accelerated stress tests to probe specific degradation hypotheses. Moreover, we develop monitoring techniques for in-situ component health diagnostics.
To corroborate our hypotheses, we perform visual inspections of our cells and stacks, as well as post-mortem characterizations with imagining techniques. We use scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Focused Ion Beam – SEM (FIB-SEM), Energy Dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), and X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) to look at microstructure and morphological changes in electrodes and cross sections. We use thermo-mechanical tests at high temperature, such as nano-indentation, dynamic mechanical testing (DMA), thermo-gravimetric analysis (TGA), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) to find material properties to feed into our degradation models.