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BASF Ultramid being used for fuel cell components for Mercedes GLC F-CELL

In close cooperation with Joma-Polytec and Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell GmbH, a subsidiary of Daimler AG, BASF’s engineering plastic Ultramid has successfully been used to manufacture a number of fuel cell system components. This solution is being used as standard in the new Mercedes GLC F-CELL, which combines a fuel cell with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. (Earlier post.)

BASF’s Ultramid polyamide offers good thermal and chemical resistance, dynamic stiffness, impact strength, and good long-term performance.

Earlier tests with other materials revealed mechanical problems, so Daimler had very specific requirements for the material. Our expertise with plastic automotive components and the extensive choice of existing products meant that we were able to work out possible solutions with our partners and identify the right material.

—Stefan Milimonka, Key Account Manager in BASF’s Performance Materials division

The three partners launched a development project to find an optimal solution satisfying the extensive range of requirements including thermal stability, media resistance, and durability. In view of the unique material structure, and on the basis of intensive material analyses of the chemical and mechanical resistance, the partners ultimately decided on the tailor-made Ultramid grades A3WG10 CR and A3EG7 EQ.

Following successful testing of all components, the two glass fiber-reinforced Ultramid grades are now being used as standard to manufacture the anode- and cathode-end plate in fuel cells.

Ultramid A3EG7 EQ is an ideal material, given the exceptional purity requirements associated with sensitive applications in the electronics industry.

In the case of the media distribution plate and the water separator unit, which is exposed to a wide variety of media through the cooling water, air and hydrogen channel, this Ultramid grade offers excellent resistance, while at the same time meeting all requirements regarding the purity of the material.

Thanks to BASF’s extensive product portfolio and the specialist knowledge of all the parties involved, we have taken an important step forward in the serial development of fuel cells. We worked together to analyze the stringent requirements and were able to put in place a highly efficient solution.

—Stefan Heinz, deputy head of plastics technology development at Joma-Polytec GmbH


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