Composite bipolar plates for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) were developed by compression molding technique using vinyl ester resin as a binder and natural graphite, carbon black, and carbon fiber as conductive reinforcements. The developed bipolar plates were characterized for electrical conductivity, flexural strength, deflection at mid-span, hydrogen permeability, and morphology. The in-plane and through-plane electrical conductivities of the composite bipolar plate (VER:25%;CB:5%;CF:5%;NG:65%) were 355.05 and 95.96 S·cm−1, respectively. The flexural strength of the same bipolar plate was 53.50 MPa with a deflection of 5.37%. The hydrogen permeability of the bipolar plate was in the order of 10−9 cm3·cm−1·s−1 at 50°C. The overall properties of the composite bipolar plate were found to achieve the benchmark set by USA-Department of Energy. However, the through-plane electrical conductivity of the above composite was edge below the target value. Therefore, graphene, being one of the most electrical conductive materials, has been reinforced into the composite bipolar plate. The results were very encouraging as 1% graphene reinforcement increased the in-plane and through-plane electrical conductivities of the bipolar plate by around 6 and 35%, respectively. The performance of a PEMFC was evaluated using the developed bipolar plate in in-situ condition.

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