A corrosion test cell for evaluating corrosion resistance in fuel cell bipolar plates is described. The cell has a transparent or translucent cell body having a pair of identical cell body members that seal against opposite sides of a bipolar plate. The cell includes an anode chamber and an cathode chamber, each on opposite sides of the plate. Each chamber contains a pair of mesh platinum current collectors and a catalyst layer pressed between current collectors and the plate. Each chamber is filled with an electrolyte solution that is replenished with fluid from a much larger electrolyte reservoir. The cell includes gas inlets to each chamber for hydrogen gas and air. As the gases flow into a chamber, they pass along the platinum mesh, through the catalyst layer, and to the bipolar plate. The gas exits the chamber through passageways that provide fluid communication between the anode and cathode chambers and the reservoir, and exits the test cell through an exit port in the reservoir. The flow of gas into the cell produces a constant flow of fresh electrolyte into each chamber. Openings in each cell body is member allow electrodes to enter the cell body and contact the electrolyte in the reservoir therein. During operation, while hydrogen gas is passed into one chamber and air into the other chamber, the cell resistance is measured, which is used to evaluate the corrosion properties of the bipolar plate.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates generally to electrochemical cells and more particularly to a corrosion test cell for bipolar plates used in electrochemical cells such as fuel cells. This invention was made with government support under Contract No. W-7405-ENG-36 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to the contract to the University of California. The U. S. Government has certain rights in the invention.