Pre-Oxidized and Nitrided Stainless Steel Alloy Foil for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Bipolar Plates: Part 1. Corrosion, Interfacial Contact Resistance, and Surface Structure

M. P. Brady, H. Wang, J. A. Turner, H. M. Meyer, K. L. More, P. F. Tortorelli, B. D. McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus Citations

Abstract

Thermal (gas) nitridation of stainless steel alloys can yield low interfacial contact resistance (ICR), electrically conductive and corrosion-resistant nitride containing surface layers (Cr2N, CrN, TiN, V2N, VN, etc.) of interest for fuel cells, batteries, and sensors. This paper presents results of scale-up studies to determine the feasibility of extending the nitridation approach to thin 0.1 mm stainless steel alloy foils for proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) bipolar plates. Developmental Fe-20Cr-4V alloy and type 2205 stainless steel foils were treated by pre-oxidation and nitridation to form low-ICR, corrosion-resistant surfaces. As-treated Fe-20Cr-4V foil exhibited target (low) ICR values, whereas 2205 foil suffered from run-to-run variation in ICR values, ranging up to 2× the target value. Pre-oxidized and nitrided surface structure examination revealed surface-through-layer-thickness V-nitride particles for the treated Fe-20Cr-4V, but near continuous chromia for treated 2205 stainless steel, which was linked to the variation in ICR values. Promising corrosion resistance was observed under simulated aggressive PEMFC anode- and cathode-side bipolar plate conditions for both materials, although ICR values were observed to increase. The implications of these findings for stamped bipolar plate foils are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)5610-5618
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Volume195
Issue number17
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2A0-48844

Keywords

  • Corrosion resistance
  • Durability
  • Metallic bipolar plates
  • Nitride
  • Polymer electrolyte/proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells

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