Graphite is an excellent material for bipolar plates used in Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell due to its great chemical resistance, but the brittle nature makes it difficult to manufacture. Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) based on layer-by-layer manufacturing technology can fabricate graphite bipolar plates with complex gas flow channels. To improve the performance of bipolar plates including electrical conductivity and flexural strength, different graphite materials (natural graphite, synthetic graphite, carbon black, and carbon fiber) were investigated to fabricate test samples. These samples then went through post processing including carbonization and infiltration. The results show that bipolar plates with electrical conductivity of 380 S/cm and flexural strength of 40 MPa are obtained from proper combinations of natural graphite and carbon fiber, which are higher than the target values set by the Department of Energy.

Meeting Name

21st Annual International Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium -- An Additive Manufacturing Conference (2010: Aug. 9-11, Austin, TX)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


This project is supported by Air Force Research Laboratory under contract #FA8650-04-C-5704.

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version

Final Version

File Type




Publication Date

11 Aug 2010

Included in

Manufacturing Commons