Design, Fabrication and Characterization of Novel Planar Solid Oxide Fuel Cells
Compson, Charles E.
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Planar solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) were designed, fabricated and characterized in order to develop a (1) cost-effective method for fabrication of thin electrolyte layers, (2) hermetic sealing and (3) stable interconnects. Electrophoretic deposition (EPD) was discovered to be an excellent method for fabricating dense electrolyte layers of about 5m thick on porous non-conducting substrates. The EPD process was thoroughly studied from proof-of-concept to statistical reproducibility, deposition mechanism, modeling and process optimization. Deposition on non-conducting substrates was found to follow many of the same fundamental trends as that on conductive substrates except for the voltage efficiency and detailed charge transfer mechanism. Eventually, the process was optimized such that an SOFC was fabricated that achieved 1.1W/cm2 at 850C. Further, a novel sealless planar SOFC was designed that incorporates a hermetic interface between the electrolyte and interconnect similar to tubular and honeycomb designs. The hermetic interface successfully acted as a blocking electrode under DC polarization, indicating its potential to act as a sealant. Leakage rates across the interface were 0.027sccm at 750c, similar to polycrystalline mica seals. Through a process of tape casting and lamination, a two-cell stack without sealant was fabricated and achieved a power density of 75mW/cm2 at 750C. Finally, the degradation rate of silver and silver-based interconnects was studied under static and dual-atmosphere conditions. Corrosion of silver grain boundaries along with sublimation losses results in the formation of large pores, resulting in up to 30 of anode oxidation after 8hrs testing at 750c. Further stability studies indicated that silver-based interconnects would be better suited for applications at operating temperatures less than 650C.