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Manufacturing of Metallic Bipolar Plate Channels by Rolling

Chair of Virtual Production Engineering, Institute for Machine Tools and Production Processes, Chemnitz University of Technology, 09126 Chemnitz, Germany
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J. Manuf. Mater. Process. 2019, 3(2), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmmp3020048
Received: 16 May 2019 / Revised: 4 June 2019 / Accepted: 6 June 2019 / Published: 17 June 2019
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Abstract

Producing metallic bipolar plates for Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cells by forming is still a topic of research. So far, it has mainly been applied for small batches, but it offers substantial advantages regarding both costs and installation space compared to the established graphite based solutions. One new possibility for an efficient manufacturing process of these metallic bipolar plates is the forming by rolling. For the first time, this technology was used for relevant industrial scale channel geometries. By the use of an experimental rolling mill, 0.1 mm thick 316L (1.4404) stainless steel foils were roll-formed to achieve previously designed channel geometries within one rolling pass. The conducted experiments show promising results regarding the forming accuracy and the shape of the channel cross-sections. With the aim for a proof of concept in the beginning and a subsequent optimization of the process, a numerical simulation was set up prior to the real experiments and later calibrated with the experimental forming results. This calibrated model was used for further improvements of the process with the objective at reducing wrinkles and distortion. The investigation of this new process method for the manufacturing of metallic bipolar plates shows enormous potential and can lead to a more efficient and cheaper production. View Full-Text
Keywords: PEM fuel cell; metallic bipolar plates; rolling; roll forming; FEM PEM fuel cell; metallic bipolar plates; rolling; roll forming; FEM
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Bauer, A.; Härtel, S.; Awiszus, B. Manufacturing of Metallic Bipolar Plate Channels by Rolling. J. Manuf. Mater. Process. 2019, 3, 48.

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