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ECN publication
Use of stainless steel for bipolar plates in the SPFC
Published by: Publication date:
ECN 1-12-1999
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-RX--99-041 Article (scientific)
Number of pages:

Published in: Presented at the Grove Fuel Cell Symposium, 13-16 September 1999, London, UK. - Submitted to Journal of Power Sources (), , , Vol., p.-.

Bipolar plate materials for the SPFC, alternative to the presently usedgraphite, should fulfil the following requirements in order to be applicable: low-cost, easy to machine or to shape, lightweight and low volume, mechanically and sufficiently chemically stable, and having a low contact resistance. Stainless steel is a low-cost material, it is easy to shape and thin sheets can be used yielding a low volume and weight. Several stainless steels have been tested for their applicability. The compaction pressure is of large influence on the contact resistance. Also the pre-treatment of the surface is of influence; this is a permanent effect. Stainless steel constituents slowly dissolve into the MEA. lt has been found that the anode sided stainless steel flow plate is the main source of the contaminants. A direct contact between the stainless steel and the membrane greatly enhances the contaminant level. Using a proper pre-treatment and a coating or gasket preventing direct contact between stainless steel and the membrane we found one alloy to satisfy the requirements for use as a low cost material for the flow plate of an SPFC. 12 refs.

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