The passive layer of stainless and acid-resistant (RS) steels increases the corrosion resistance but reduces the efficiency of the fuel cell as a result of its electrically insulating property. The goal of the project is to gain fundamental knowledge and a mechanism-based understanding of the plasma treatment on the electrical and electrochemical properties of austenitic RS steels.
Based on the extensive preliminary work performed by both applicants in the field of plasma diffusion treatment, various working hypotheses were defined in order to achieve the objective. These include a detailed investigation of the edge and passive layers in dependence on the plasma diffusion treatment and the material-science aspects. For this purpose, in addition to the new or further development of analytical characterization strategies, a correlation of the experimental results with simulation models and prognosis tools is carried out.
The project addresses social, ecological and economic aspects, as the achieved mechanism understanding contributes towards the research and further development of plasma-nitrided RS steels for bipolar plates, thereby enabling enhanced practical application in the long term. The findings will also be incorporated into two dissertations and will pave the way for further projects and collaborations.