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Polymers 2019, 11(3), 462; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11030462

Characterization of Highly Filled PP/Graphite Composites for Adhesive Joining in Fuel Cell Applications

Leibniz-Institut für Polymerforschung Dresden e.V., Hohe Str. 6, 01069 Dresden, Germany
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Received: 11 February 2019 / Revised: 5 March 2019 / Accepted: 6 March 2019 / Published: 11 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Polymers and Nanocomposites)
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Abstract

In order to evaluate the suitability of graphite composite materials for use as bipolar plates in fuel cells, polypropylene (PP) was melt compounded with expanded graphite as conductive filler to form composites with different filler contents of 10–80 wt %. Electrical resistivity, thermal conductivity, and mechanical properties were measured and evaluated as a function of filler content. The electrical and thermal conductivities increased with filler content. Tensile and flexural strengths decreased with the incorporation of expanded graphite in PP. With higher graphite contents, however, both strength values remained more or less unchanged and were below the values of pure PP. Young’s-modulus and flexural modulus increased almost linearly with increasing filler content. The results of the thermogravimetric analysis confirmed the actual filler content in the composite materials. In order to evaluate the wettability and suitability for adhesive joining of graphite composites, contact angle measurements were conducted and surface tensions of composite surfaces were calculated. The results showed a significant increase in the surface tension of graphite composites with increasing filler content. Furthermore, graphite composites were adhesively joined and the strength of the joints was evaluated in the lap-shear test. Increasing filler content in the substrate material resulted in higher tensile lap-shear strength. Additionally, the influence of surface treatment (plasma and chemical) on surface tension and tensile lap-shear strength was investigated. The surface treatment led to a significant improvement of both properties. View Full-Text
Keywords: polypropylene/graphite composites; thermal conductivity; electrical conductivity; mechanical properties; adhesive joining; bipolar plates; fuel cells polypropylene/graphite composites; thermal conductivity; electrical conductivity; mechanical properties; adhesive joining; bipolar plates; fuel cells
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Rzeczkowski, P.; Krause, B.; Pötschke, P. Characterization of Highly Filled PP/Graphite Composites for Adhesive Joining in Fuel Cell Applications. Polymers 2019, 11, 462.

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