Liam Cooper

Centre for Doctoral Training Doctoral Researcher

 liam pic


School of Chemical Engineering
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT
United Kingdom


Lead Supervisor

Dr Ahmad El-Kharouf

Research Summary

Liam Cooper joined the Centre for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Research in September 2017 as part of the CDT. Prior to this, he graduated from Aberystwyth University in June 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Physics.

The aim of his current research is to investigate coating materials for bipolar plates in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell’s (PEMFCs). The research will investigate the corrosion environment the plates encounter, and identify coatings that will better handle the harsh acidic environment while keeping contact resistance to a minimum throughout the life of the cell. The research will use industry test conditions to allow a commercially feasible coating to be found.


BSc: Physics (accredited by IOP), Aberystwyth University, 2017


Liam graduated from his BSc degree in 2017. During the degree, he was taught both a range of topics, ranging from computer coding to Fermi-Dirac notation used in quantum mechanics. He has completed research projects that utilise classroom physics to produce sensors for use in cold chain vaccine transport.


Liam area of research focuses specifically on the bipolar plates present in PEMFCs. A review of current research and materials will be used to direct the vision of new plate coating materials. The plate material will be metallic in nature, current research suggests stainless steel, aluminium and titanium plates are the most viable materials for industry, each with their own merits. A range of coating materials will be investigated, coatings will be assessed by cost, corrosion, contact resistance (at start and end of lifetime tests) and manufacturability. Coatings shall be tested in in-situ and ex-situ experiments. Corrosion will be reviewed using SEM images, the change in contact resistance throughout the lifetime of the cell will also provide insight into the corrosion of the cell. Successful coating materials will look to outperform materials currently in production, it is hoped that a material can be found that will meet or exceed the targets set by the Department of Energy.