Bipolar plates made from graphite are highly desirable in fuel cell applications due to the properties of high electrical conductivity, low weight and resistance to corrosion that graphite possesses. However, the poor mechanical properties of natural graphite lead to prohibitive machining costs. Graphite parts are made by indirect SLS using graphite powder mixed with a phenolic resin binder which is subsequently burnt out. These parts fabricated using indirect SLS have poor green strength and electrical conductivity. The current work deals with the addition of carbon fiber to the graphite-phenolic mixture with an aim to improve green part strength and brown part conductivity. This research work also addresses fabrication of graphite bipolar plates for Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFCs) with internal features and flow channels with different cross-sectional geometry that are difficult to produce using conventional machining processes.
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