Research Papers

Surface Treatments of Stainless Steel by Electroless Silver Coatings as a Bipolar Plate for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells

[+] Author and Article Information
Ing-Bang Huang

Department of Materials Science
and Engineering,
National Formosa University,
Huwei, Yunlin 63201, Taiwan
e-mail: ibhuang@nfu.edu.tw

Ching Chiang Hwang

Department of Biotechnology,
MingDao University,
Pitou, Changhua 523, Taiwan

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF FUEL CELL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received October 4, 2013; final manuscript received October 6, 2015; published online November 17, 2015. Editor: Nigel M. Sammes.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 12(6), 061001 (Nov 17, 2015) (5 pages) Paper No: FC-13-1092; doi: 10.1115/1.4031861 History: Received October 04, 2013; Revised October 06, 2015

The objective of this study is to examine the effect of heat treatment at various temperatures on the corrosion behavior of electroless silver-coated SS 304 in a simulated proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell environment. The corrosion properties of this material were studied using a potentiodynamic polarization technique. X-ray diffraction (XRD) patterns, polarization curves, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) of coated and heat-treated specimens obtained in various heating temperatures were also utilized. It was found that the corrosion potential of the coated and heat-treated specimens shift toward a noble potential, and a significant decrease in corrosion current density was also observed. The corrosion current density decreased by a factor of about 1/500 for the heat-treated sample of 600 °C compared to the substrate. The heat-treated specimens displayed greater corrosion resistance than unheated and bare ones. According to the polarization studies and SEM images, the heat-treated specimen at 600 °C shows excellent corrosion resistance with a homogeneous dense surface morphology. These results demonstrated the coatings were suited for fuel cell applications in the proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) environment.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

SEM images of the as-deposited and heat-treated samples: (a) as deposited, (b) 200 °C, (c) 400 °C, (d) 600 °C, and (e) 800 °C

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Flow chart of preparing the silver-plating by an electroless method

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) spectrum of the as-deposited and heat-treated samples: (a) as deposited, (b) 200 °C, (c) 400 °C, (d) 600 °C, and (e) 800 °C

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

XRD patterns of as-deposited and heated-treated Ag film at various temperatures with a Cu target

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Potentiodynamic polarization curves from the bare and Ag-coated samples in 0.5 M H2SO4 at room temperature

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Potentiodynamic polarization curves from the as-deposited and heat-treated samples in 0.5 M H2SO4 at room temperature



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