Mechanical Behavior and Failure Mechanism of Nb-Clad Stainless Steel Sheets
Because niobium-clad 304L stainless steel sheets are considered for use as bipolar plates in polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells, their mechanical behavior and failure mechanism are important to be examined. As-rolled and annealed specimens were tested in tension, bending and flattening. The effects of annealing temperature and time on the mechanical behavior and failure mechanism were investigated. Micrographic analyses of bent and flattened specimens showed that the as-rolled specimens have limited ductility and that the annealed specimens can develop an intermetallic layer of thickness of a few microns. The annealed specimens failed due to the breakage of intermetallic layer causing localized necking and the subsequent failure of Nb layer. The springback angles of the as-rolled and annealed specimens were also obtained from guided-bend tests.