Influence of Deposition Temperature on the Electrical and Electrochemical Properties of Carbon-Based Coatings for Metallic Bipolar Plates, Prepared by Cathodic Arc Evaporation
Cathodic arc evaporation is a well-established physical vapor deposition technique which is characterized by a high degree of ionization and high deposition rate. So far, this technique has been mainly used for the deposition of tribological coatings. In this study, anti-corrosive and electrical conductive carbon-based coatings with a metallic interlayer were prepared on stainless steel substrates as surface modification for metallic bipolar plates. Hereby, the influence of the deposition temperature during the deposition of the carbon top layer was investigated. Raman spectroscopy revealed differences in the microstructure at 200°C compared to 300°C and 100°C. Measurements of the interfacial contact resistance showed that the deposited coatings significantly improve the electrical conductivity. There are only minor differences between the different carbon top layers. The corrosion resistance of the coatings was studied via potentiodynamic polarization at room temperature and 80°C. Experiments showed that the coating with a carbon top layer deposited at 200°C, considerably reduces the current density and thus corrosion of the substrate is suppressed.