PVD Coated Bipolar Plates for PEM Fuel Cells

[+] Author and Article Information
Shuo-Jen Lee

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Yuan Ze University, 135 FarEast Road, NeiLi, TaoYuan, Taiwanmesjl@saturn.yzu.edu.tw

Ching-Han Huang, Yu-Pang Chen, Chen-Te Hsu

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Yuan Ze University, 135 FarEast Road, NeiLi, TaoYuan, Taiwan

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 2(4), 290-294 (Mar 09, 2005) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2041671 History: Received March 21, 2004; Revised March 09, 2005

Aluminum was considered a good candidate material for bipolar plates of the polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells due to its low cost, light weight, high strength and good manufacturability. But there were problems of both chemical and electrochemical corrosions in the PEM fuel cell operating environment. The major goals of this research are to find proper physical vapor deposition (PVD) coating materials which would enhance surface properties by making significant improvements on corrosion resistance and electrical conductivity at a reasonable cost. Several coating materials had been studied to analyze their corrosion resistance improvement. The corrosion rates of all materials were tested in a simulated fuel cell environment. The linear polarization curve of electrochemical method measured by potentiostat instrument was employed to determine the corrosion current. Results of the corrosion tests indicated that all of the coating materials had good corrosion resistance and were stable in the simulated fuel cell environment. The conductivities of the coated layers were better and the resistances changed very little after the corrosion test. At last, single fuel cells were made by each PVD coating material. Fuel cell tests were conducted to determine their performance w.r.t. that was made of graphite. The results of fuel cell tests indicated that metallic bipolar plates with PVD coating could be used in PEM fuel cells.

Copyright © 2005 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 11

I-P curves of single cells

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Figure 12

Cell endurance tests

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Figure 1

Flow chart of the experimental procedures

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Figure 2

Membrane electrode assembly

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Figure 3

Picture of the Solartron 1285 potentiostat

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Figure 4

Thermal shock cycling test

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Figure 5

Equipment of thermal shock cycling test

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Figure 6

(a) PVD coated specimen (×50), YZU-01; and (b) thermal shock cycling test specimen (×50), YZU-01

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Figure 7

(a) PVD coated specimen (×80), YZU-02; (b) thermal shock cycling test specimen (×80), YZU-02

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Figure 8

Electrochem test station

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Figure 9

Representative I-V curve of a single cell

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Figure 10

I-V curves of single cells



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