Effect of Different Graphite Materials on the Electrical Conductivity and Flexural Strength of Bipolar Plates Fabricated Using Selective Laser Sintering


Veziroglu, T. N.


Selective Laser Sintering provides a way to fabricate graphite composite bipolar plates for use in fuel cells. This significantly reduces time and cost at the research and development stage of bipolar plates, as compared with the conventional fabrication methods such as compression molding and injection molding. Different graphite materials, including natural graphite, synthetic graphite, carbon black, and carbon fiber, were investigated using the selective laser sintering process to fabricate bipolar plates. The effect of each material on the electrical conductivity and flexural strength of the bipolar plates was studied experimentally. With a proper combination of these materials, bipolar plates with electrical conductivity ranging from 120 to 380 S/cm and flexural strength ranging from 30 to 50 MPa have been obtained, which satisfy the requirements set by the Department of Energy and also are comparable with those developed by compression molding and injection molding. A modified percolation model was proposed to predict the electrical conductivity of the fabricated bipolar plates with different compositions. The analytical results calculated from the proposed model agree well with the experimental results. Finally, a single PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) fuel cell unit was assembled using the fabricated bipolar plates, and its in-situ performance was studied.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Graphite Composite; Bipolar Plates; Electrical Conductivity; Selective Laser Sintering; Percolation Model

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Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2012 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2012