The Effect of Ink Ball Milling Time on Interparticle Interactions and Ink Microstructure and Their Influence on Crack Formation in Rod-Coated Catalyst Layers: Article No. 233567

Carlos Baez-Cotto, Jason Pfeilsticker, Andres Godoy, Mariah Batool, Sarah Zaccarine, Min Wang, Olivia Bird, Svitlana Pylypenko, Jasna Jankovic, Michael Ulsh, Scott Mauger

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5 Scopus Citations

Abstract

This work investigates the influence of ballmilling (sometimes also referred to as jar roller milling) time on cathode catalyst layer (CL) inks and electrode properties using formulations and coating methods relevant for industrial manufacturing. Four CL inks with the same composition were milled for 24, 48, 72, or 96 h. Rheological investigation of these inks showed a reduction of elastic moduli and steady-shear viscosity with continuous ink milling, which is correlated to a decrease in particle-particle interactions as well as formation of smaller agglomerates. Optical microscopy (OM) analysis of the fabricated electrodes revealed a trend in surface crack formation; formulations milled for 24 h contained the lowest average surface crack area percentages of 0.370% at heavy-duty loadings of ~0.300 mgPt cm-2, compared to 2.418% for the ink milled for 96 h. Further characterization of the CL through transmission electron microscopy (TEM) imaging showed a decrease in the mean agglomerate and pore size with milling time. These smaller electrode features were consistent with reduced fracture resistance and, hence, development of larger stresses during drying. Our results highlight the need to consider ink processing as an important component in defect-free CL manufacturing.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Volume583
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-85749

Keywords

  • ball milling
  • catalyst layer
  • critical crack thickness
  • electron microscopy
  • formulation-process-performance relationships
  • Mayer rod coating

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