A method to join and seal the flow field plate to the gas diffusion layer or the coolant plate of a fuel cell structure eliminates seals and gaskets in the fuel cell assembly. This design potentially achieves considerable cost reduction and simplifies assembly. Eliminating the seal reduces the chance of stack failure due to sealing material degradation under fuel cell operating conditions. The sealed plates withstood coolant pressure and showed no leaks.
A manufacturing process produces plastic parts with smooth skins and foamed cores, using standard molding machines with gas injection hardware. It can be used with virtually any thermoplastic polymer. The technique allows more complex parts to be manufactured with better surfaces and lower foam densities than other foaming processes. It provides improved touch and lower cost than integral skin polyurethane foamed parts.
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