Fuel Cell Fabrication Applications for Organic Binders

QPAC®, the cleanest thermally decomposable organic/sacrificial binders in the world, is manufactured by Empower Materials Inc. It cleanly decomposes into water and CO2 in various types of atmospheres while leaving almost no residue. This property contributes to the extensive usage of QPAC® in many challenging applications.

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QPAC® poly(alkylene carbonate) copolymers are an exclusive range of ground-breaking thermoplastics representing a real innovation in polymer technology. While conventional plastics have been mostly petroleum based, these materials are derived from carbon dioxide and are produced through the copolymerization of CO2 with one or more epoxides. This results in polymers that are clear, amorphous, readily processible, and have lasting mechanical stability. Since they consume 50% fewer petrochemicals, as opposed to the other polymers which are 100% petrochemical based, the polymers are also environmentally friendly. Furthermore, they may demonstrate biodegradable properties consistent with an eco-friendly binder.

Empower Materials’ range of binders include QPAC® 40, polypropylene carbonate, and QPAC® 25, polyethylene carbonate. However, a vast range of QPAC® polymers can be obtained by using blends of epoxides to produce a specific reaction or changing the epoxide monomer. The technical group at Empower Materials has the expertise needed to efficiently work with the customers to develop the right product for their application.

Production Capabilities of Empower Materials

Empower Materials is the only commercial manufacturer of polyalkylene carbonates in the world. The company is capable of manufacturing large quantities (1000's of kgs) of QPAC® 100, a terpolymer of polypropylene carbonate and polycyclohexene carbonate; QPAC® 40, polypropylene carbonate; and QPAC® 25, polyethylene carbonate.

Moreover, an extensive variety of other QPAC® polymers are possible through substitution of oxiranes (epoxides) using the same production equipment configuration. Besides QPAC® 25, QPAC® 40 and QPAC® 100 (polypropylene carbonate, polyethylene carbonate and polypropylene carbonate/polycyclohexene, respectively), the following have been effectively synthesized on pilot scale equipment: QPAC® 130 (poly-cyclohexene carbonate) and QPAC® 60 (poly-butylene-carbonate)

Also, Empower Materials has the technology to modify the molecular weight polymer across an extremely wide range.

QPAC Organic Binders in Fuel Cell Fabrication

QPAC® polymers are clean-burning, decomposing at very low temperatures, burning out completely and consistently. They offer exceptional green strength for ceramic parts and decompose at very low temperatures.

Close observation of the composition of QPAC® will reveal that it has additional advantages for other uses in the construction of fuel cells.

QPAC® 25, or PEC polyethylene carbonate, is capable of obstructing or preventing oxygen from passing through the porous membrane film.

QPAC® 40, or PPC polypropylene carbonate, is an effective water barrier. It is insoluble in water – the main constituent in the electrolytic solution into which the fuel cell is placed.

Both polymers are appropriate for extrusion or co-extrusion with/for the porous selective membrane film.

Both grades of QPAC® could also be utilized as a solid matrix for holding the catalyst or electrolyte in place in the fuel cell. Both polymers would be very flexible in terms of the thickness or shape of the matrix.

Moreover, it is possible to alter the QPAC® polymers to add some conducting moiety to the polymer backbone, which would enable it to be used as the electrolyte.

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This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Empower Materials.

For more information on this source, please visit Empower Materials.


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