Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFC) are able to efficiently generate high power densities, making the technology potentially attractive for certain mobile and portable applications. Since the bipolar plate is a major part of the PEMFC stack both in weight and volume, the bipolar plate should be developed with its weight and thickness in mind. One of the most important properties of the fuel cell bipolar plates is their electrical resistance, which should be very low to conduct the electricity generated in the fuel cells with minimum electrical loss. The resistance of the bipolar plate of PEMFC consists of bulk material resistance and interfacial contact resistance
In this study, a bipolar plate for automotive fuel cells was developed with a carbon fiber/epoxy composite by compression molding due to the fact that the carbon fiber/epoxy composite has not only high electrical and thermal conductivities, but also high specific stiffness and strength. The mechanical and thermo-electrical properties of the developed composite bipolar plate were measured to investigate its suitability for the automotive fuel cell. Also, the integrated composite bipolar plate that has channels for fuel, air and coolant was developed to eliminate contact resistance between the bipolar plates.