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Process for producing laminated exfoliated graphite composite-metal compositions for fuel cell bipolar plate applications

United States Patent Application

View the Complete Application at the US Patent & Trademark Office
A process for producing an electrically conductive laminate composition for fuel cell flow field plate or bipolar plate applications. The process comprises: (a) feeding a thin metal sheet, having a first surface and a second surface, into a consolidating zone; and (b) feeding a first exfoliated graphite composite sheet onto the first surface of the metal sheet to form a two-layer precursor laminate in this consolidating zone; wherein the exfoliated graphite composite sheet comprises (i) expanded or exfoliated graphite and (ii) a binder or matrix material to bond the expanded graphite to form a cohered. The process preferably further comprises (c) feeding a second exfoliated graphite composite sheet onto the second surface of the metal sheet to form a three-layer precursor laminate. Both the first and second exfoliated graphite composite sheet may further comprise particles of non-expandable graphite or carbon in the amount of between 3% and 60% by weight based on the total weight of the non-expandable particles and the expanded graphite. Surface flow channels and other desired geometric features can be built onto the exterior surfaces of the laminate to form a flow field plate or bipolar plate by a procedure such as in-line embossing or molding. The resulting laminate has an exceptionally high thickness-direction conductivity and excellent resistance to gas permeation.
Zhamu, Aruna (Centerville, OH), Shi, Jinjun (Columbus, OH), Guo, Jiusheng (Centerville, OH), Jang, Bor Z. (Centerville, OH)
12/ 002,279
December 17, 2007
[0002] This invention is based on the research results of a project supported by the US Department of Energy (DOE) SBIR-STTR Program. The US government has certain rights on this invention.