Numerical-experimental study on the thickness distribution of metallic bipolar plates for PEM fuel cells

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Kashan, Kashan, Iran

2 Northern Research Center for Science and Technology, Malek Ashtar University of Technology, Iran

3 Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Tarbiat Modares University, Iran


In this study, the plastic deformation of a metallic bipolar plate with a serpentine flow field was investigated during the stamping process. The strain path and thickness distribution in 304 stainless steel bipolar plates with a thickness of 0.1 mm were determined. To achieve this purpose, the process was simulated by the ABAQUS commercial finite element code, and the validity of the results was evaluated by experimental tests under simple and lubricated conditions. According to the results, the flow of material has a significant effect on the thickness distribution of the central and lateral channels, and the thickness reduction percentage of the central channel in the longitudinal, diagonal, and transverse directions is higher than the lateral one. The maximum thickness reduction in the central channels is observed in the longitudinal direction, while the diagonal direction is considered as a critical direction for lateral channels. Due to the existence of the equibiaxial tension strain path in the diagonal direction, significant thickness reduction is observed in both the side and the rib zone of the channels. However, using lubricant led to a decrease in the thickness reduction percentage by improving the flow of material into the die cavity. Moreover, under lubricated conditions, the critical area is transferred from the side area of the channel in the longitudinal direction to the rib area in the diagonal direction


Main Subjects

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