Multistep active screen plasma co-alloying the treatment of metallic bipolar plates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics
  • Jiangsu Provincial Engineering Laboratory for Laser Additive Manufacturing of High-Performance Metallic Components
  • Ministry of Industry and Information Technology


Active screen plasma (ASP) surface treatments have been widely utilized to improve surface performances of stainless steel in various applications. In our previous research, active screen plasma nitriding (ASPN) and active screen plasma co-alloying processes have been successfully employed to modify 316L stainless steel for the application of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell bipolar plates. In this study, a multistep active screen plasma co-alloying surface treatment with niobium and nitrogen was proposed to produce a tailored layer structure on the surface of 316L stainless steel. By tailoring the applied bias of step, single-layer and duplex-layer structures can be formed on the surface of 316L stainless steel. Performance tests showed that the sample with a duplex-layer structure exhibited improved interfacial contact conductivity and higher corrosion potential than the sample with a single-layer structure, indicating the feasibility of this multistep active screen plasma co-alloying surface treatment for PEM fuel cell bipolar plate application.

Bibliographic note

Funding Information: This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant number 51905269), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (grant number EP/J018252/1); Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (grant number 3082018NS2018038); Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu (grant number BK20170787); the Open Fund of Key Laboratory of Materials Preparation and Protection for Harsh Environment (grant number 56XCA18159-4); Science Challenge Project (grant numbers TZ2018006-0301-02 and TZ2018006-0303-03); Young Scientists Fund (grant number 51905269). Professor Hanshan Dong and Dr Xiaoying Li would like to acknowledge the financial support from Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, UK (grant number EP/J018252/1). Publisher Copyright: © 2020, © 2020 Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining Published by Taylor & Francis on behalf of the Institute. Copyright: Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-546
Number of pages8
JournalSurface Engineering
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2020


  • 316L stainless steel, Active screen plasma treatment, bipolar plate, corrosion resistance, interfacial contact resistance, PEM fuel cell, surface alloying