team photo

Figure 1
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Materials Science and Engineering
Team 13

Team Members

Advisor

Quinten Arsenault
Lucas Enright

Stefan Schaffoener

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Etching of Etching Titanium for Electroplating Processes

Nel Hydrogen is a global powerhouse in the hydrogen industry. One focus of Nel Hydrogen is onsite generation of high purity hydrogen gas through electrolysis of water in portable electrolyzer cells. The manufacturing of these cells currently utilizes hydrofluoric acid (HF) for etching of porous titanium electrodes. The goal of this project is to establish and optimize a replacement etching procedure that uses a less hazardous etchant to mitigate safety risks and manufacturing costs.
Our approach to this problem includes a combination of experimental work guided by factorial design and computational model through the Julia programming language. Performance of the etching process is measured through mass transport and resistivity through the porous plate. The new etching process must produce porous plates with equal or superior mass transport and resistivity properties to those created via the currently implemented HF-based process.
This project seeks to resolve economic and environmental challenges currently faced in the alternative energy industry. Hydrogen energy is a rapidly growing technological field, and improved manufacturing of electrolyzer cells could reduce the economic barriers currently faced by hydrogen for widespread implementation.