The Corrosion of Metallic Components in Fuel Cells

The Corrosion of Metallic Components in Fuel Cells. J. A. Turner. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. 1617 Cole Boulevard, Golden, Colorado 80401 …

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The Corrosion of Metallic Components in Fuel Cells
When one is considering the mass production of fuel cells, the manufacturability of each component is very important. To obtain the economy of mass production, approximately one million fuel cell systems need to be manufactured each year, that is almost 100,000 per month. Assuming 120 bipolar plates per stack, that is 12 million bipolar plates per month or 400,000 per day! That means these plates must be injection molded or stamped from metal stock. Injection molding requires a cycle time of less than 10 seconds and conductivity similar to POCO graphite. Because of the need for rapid production, and high conductivity, metal stock is a good possibility. However when considering metal stock, a number of problem arise from the possibility of corrosion leading to failure of the stack. Because of the unique and complex environment in a fuel cell stack, the importance of corrosion testing cannot be understated. A fuel cell stack has a
humid environment that includes both oxidizing and reducing atmospheres, small amounts of fluoride leach from the membrane, and other halides, as well as SOx, and NOx are available from
the atmosphere.

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