Growth of Cr-Nitrides on Commercial Ni-Cr and Fe-Cr Base Alloys to Protect PEMFC Bipolar Plates

M. P. Brady, H. Wang, B. Yang, J. A. Turner, M. Bordignon, R. Molins, M. Abd Elhamid, L. Lipp, L. R. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus Citations


Nitridation of Cr-bearing alloys can yield low interfacial contact resistance (ICR), electrically conductive and corrosion-resistant CrN or Cr2N base surfaces of interest for a range of electrochemical devices, including fuel cells, batteries, and sensors. This paper presents results of exploratory studies of the nitridation of commercially available, high Cr (30-35 wt%) Ni-Cr alloys and a ferritic high Cr (29 wt%) stainless steel for proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) bipolar plates. A high degree of corrosion resistance in sulfuric acid solutions designed to simulate bipolar plate conditions and low ICR values were achieved. Oxygen impurities in the nitriding environment were observed to play a significant role in the nitrided surface structures that formed, with detrimental effects for the Ni-Cr base alloys, but beneficial effects for the stainless steel alloy. Positive results from single-cell fuel cell testing are also presented.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3778-3788
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number16
StatePublished - 2007

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-560-42504


  • Bipolar plate
  • Fuel cell
  • Nitridation
  • Nitride
  • Oxidation


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