In typical Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cells, a compressed gasket provides a sealing barrier between cell and cooler bipolar plate interfaces. The gasket initially bears the entire bolt load, and its resisting reaction load depends on the cross-sectional shape of the gasket, bipolar plate’s groove depth, and the hyperelastic properties of the gasket material. A nonlinear, finite element analysis (FEA) model with various hyperelastic material models, large deformations, and contact was used to evaluate the load-gap curves. The deformed shapes and the distributions of stress, strain, and deflections are presented. Mooney-Rivlin and Arruda-Boyce hyperelastic material models were used, and a comparison of load-gap curves is shown. A process is presented that couples the computer-aided design geometry with the nonlinear FEA model that was used to determine the gasket’s cross-sectional shape, which achieves the desired reaction load for a given gap.

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