Improvement of Electrical Conductivity of SLS PEM Fuel Cell Bipolar Plates

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Chen, Ssuwei
Bourell, David L.
Wood, Kristin L.

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Previous work in this research demonstrated the feasibility of fabrication of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell bipolar plates by an indirect selective laser sintering (SLS) route. Properties of the SLS bipolar plate, such as flexural strength, corrosion resistance and gas impermeability, etc. are quite promising and satisfactory. However, initial results showed that there was still room for the improvement in electrical conductivity. This paper summaries the strategies investigated in an effort to increase the electrical conductivity, among which are: (1) infiltration of brown parts with conductive polymer (2) addition of a liquid phenolic infiltration/re-curing step prior to final sealing and (3) reduction of glassy carbon resistivity by curing process parameter control. Results show that the electrical conductivity value may be improved from 80 S/cm to around 108 S/cm, which is equivalent to a 35% jump, when the phenolic infiltration/re-curing step is applied before final epoxy sealing.


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