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Article

The Development of a Heterogeneous Composite Bipolar Plate of a Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell

[+] Author and Article Information
Ming-San Lee

 Fuel Cell Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Sun Yat-Sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan 80424 Republic of Chinamslee@mail.nsysu.edu.tw

Long-Jeng Chen, Zheng-Ru He, Shih-Hong Yang

 Fuel Cell Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Sun Yat-Sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan 80424 Republic of China

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 2(1), 14-19 (Jul 23, 2004) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.1840799 History: Received February 24, 2004; Revised July 23, 2004

A new high performance, low cost heterogeneous composite bipolar plate has been developed. Unlike the well publicized carbon composite bipolar plate, in which graphite powder and plastics are mixed thoroughly, the new plate has its “ribs” made of flexible and loose carbon fiber bunches while the rest of the plate is plain plastic. This design has brought many advantages: low contact resistance acquired under very low compression force, less stack weight and volume, full electrode utilization, and thus high performance and low cost. It also eliminates the need for supplementary devices for fuel circulation among cells in a stack and makes DMFC portable.

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Copyright © 2005 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Schematic drawing of a PEMFC stack

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Figure 2

Schematic drawing of (a) the new heterogeneous composite bipolar plate and (b) the detail structure of carbon fiber bunches inside the plate

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Figure 3

Schematic drawing illustrates the setup of contact resistance measurement

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Figure 4

The contact resistance comparison of the graphite plate (dashed line) versus the carbon fiber made heterogeneous composite plate (solid line) at various compression loadings

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Figure 5

Schematic drawing of a matching MEA with three independent electrodes and one membrane

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Figure 6

The cross section of a “single-cell” stack design especially for portable applications

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Figure 7

A hand-made carbon fiber heterogeneous composite bipolar plate

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Figure 8

Performance comparisons between the two one-cell stacks equipped with different bipolar plates

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