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Synthesis of Bipolar Plates for Fuel Cells Based on Exfoliated Graphene Nanoplatelets Filled Polymer Nanocomposites



This research explored the potential of using exfoliated graphene nanoplatelets, GNP, as the conductive filler to construct highly conductive polymeric nanocomposites to replace conventional metallic and graphite bipolar plates in the polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells. PEM fuel cell is a relatively new but fast developing power system which is considered to be one of the most promising power sources for stationary and transportation application in the future. Polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) was selected as the polymer matrix because of its high thermal and chemical tolerance. Solid state ball milling (SSBM) followed by compression molding was then applied to fabricate PPS/GNP nanocomposites. Results showed that PPS/GNP nanocomposites made by this method exhibit excellent mechanical and gas barrier properties but unsatisfied electrical conductivity. However, it was found that the electrical conductivity of these nanocomposites could be substantially enhanced if we combine GNP with second minor conductive filler for a positive synergistic effect. Meanwhile, the processing time of SSBM was also discovered as a critical factor in determining the electrical conductivity of the resulting GNP nanocomposites.

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