Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Researchers creating moldable materials for fuel cell bipolar plates


Composite material, compression process to reduce time, cost of manufacturing bipolar plates

A single fuel cell does not produce enough energy to power a car. So fuel cells are stacked, with a bipolar plate between each cell through which electrons are conducted. The hydrogen fuel and oxygen, which are part of the fuel cell chemistry, enter the plate through channels along the face on each side of the plates. Creating the channels in the bipolar plate is a manufacturing challenge.

About 29 percent of the cost of a fuel cell stack is the bipolar plate, and machining channels into the plates is a significant factor, said Donald Baird, who is the Harry C. Wyatt Professor of Chemical Engineering at Virginia Tech. "Machining 1 millimeter by 1 millimeter (1 mm x 1 mm) channels is expensive and time consuming."

So researchers at Virginia Tech are developing compression moldable composite bipolar plates with channels included. Baird and Jianhua Huang, research scientist in chemical engineering at Virginia Tech, will present their research at the 230th American Chemical Society National Meeting, being held in Washington, D.C., Aug. 28-Sept. 1.

Using a thermoplastic composite and a wet-lay process, the researchers created a material with high electrical conductivity and good mechanical properties, that is a barrier to hydrogen and oxygen, and is easy to manufacture so that the channels can be molded in. The properties of the bipolar plates, which will be discussed at the ACS meeting, exceed the Department of Energy’s minimum standards and industry requirements in terms of electrical conductivity along the plate and of strength. "Through plane conductivity needs some improvement (presently values as high as 35 S/cm are obtained)," Baird said.

The Virginia Tech researchers are continuing to work on optimizing the manufacturing scheme – how fast the channels can be created and the material can be cooled, Baird said. "We are also working on different methods of heating, such as induction versus microwaving."

Susan Trulove | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Study explains strength gap between graphene, carbon fiber
20.10.2016 | Rice University

nachricht Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light
18.10.2016 | Worcester Polytechnic Institute

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Innovative technique for shaping light could solve bandwidth crunch

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA's MAVEN mission observes ups and downs of water escape from Mars

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>