BASF devises plastic material for fuel cell components

BASF devises plastic material for fuel cell components

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By Christoph Hammerschmidt

The Ultramid components developed in this joint effort are now used in the series version of Daimler’s compact SUV Mercedes GLC F-Cell, which is powered by a combination of fuel cell and lithium-ion battery. The high quality and safety requirements in the automotive industry pose major challenges for the materials. With advanced polyamides and the plastics polyoximethylene (Ultraform) and polyethersulfone (Ultrason), BASF accompanies new developments from automobile manufacturers. Technical properties and high functionality are of great importance. Ultramid polyamide was selected for the Mercedes GLC F- Cell because of its good thermal and chemical resistance, dynamic strength, toughness and good long-term service properties, BASF says.

“Since previous tests with other materials revealed mechanical problems, Daimler had specific requirements for the material,” explains Stefan Milimonka, Key Account Manager in BASF’s Performance Materials division. “Based on our expertise in plastic components for automobiles, we worked with our partners to develop solution proposals and identify the right material.

Together with Joma-Polytec GmbH and the Daimler AG subsidiary Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell GmbH, a development project was initiated to optimally meet the extensive requirements: Temperature resistance, media resistance and longevity. Based on the special material basis and intensive material analyses with regard to chemical and mechanical resistance, the companies involved selected the tailor-made Ultramid grades A3WG10 CR and A3EG7 EQ. After successful testing of all components, the two glass-fiber-reinforced Utramides are now being used as standard for the production of the anode and cathode end plates in the fuel cell.

With Ultramid A3EG7 EQ, a material is available which is ideally suited for sensitive applications in the electrical industry due to special purity requirements. In the case of the media distribution plate and the water separator unit, which are exposed to a wide variety of media with the cooling water, air and hydrogen channels, Ultramid has to meet particularly high requirements in this application with regard to the purity of the material and its resistance.

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