Experimental Analysis of Fiber Laminating Effects on Flexural Rigidity of Composite Endplates for Use in PEM Fuel Cells

Document Type : Research Paper

Authors

1 Northern Research Center for Science and Technology, Malek Ashtar University of Technology, Iran

2 Department of Polymer Engineering and Color Technology, Amirkabir University of Technology, Iran

10.22104/ijhfc.2022.5777.1240

Abstract

One of the most important components of a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell is the endplate, which must exert uniform contact pressure distribution on the membrane electrode assembly. Since the endplates must be highly rigid, it is essential to consider the flexural modulus parameter when designing these plates. In this study, the production of lighter-weight endplates with a higher flexural modulus is significantly improved by replacing heavy metallic plates with polymer composite plates. The vacuum bag manufacturing technique was used to create these composite plates from epoxy resin, carbon fibers, and glass fibers, making them compatible with the environment of the fuel cell. The flexural modulus and heat deflection temperature of each sample were evaluated before and after a simulated environment test of the fuel cell. Then, the amount of water absorption for each specimen was calculated. Finally, the composite endplates were fabricated using the two different laminations of fibers to find the optimum fiber lamination to maximize the endplate flexural rigidity. The optimum sample contained carbon fibers with an epoxy resin with 0 degrees arrangement. This specimen has a flexural modulus of about 93.17 GPa, heat deflection temperature of about 261 °C, and water absorption of about 0.86%, which are ideal for fuel cell endplates.

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