Discrete Numerical Simulations of Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Electrodes: Developing New Tools for Fundamental Investigation
Mebane, David Spencer
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A program of study has been established for the quantitative study of electrode reactions in solid oxide fuel cells. The initial focus of the program is the mixed conducting cathode material strontium-doped lanthanum manganate (LSM). A formalism was established treating reactions taking place at the gas-exposed surface of mixed conducting electrodes. This formalism was incorporated into a phenomenological model for oxygen reduction in LSM, which treats the phenomenon of sheet resistance. Patterned electrodes were designed that reduce the dimensionality of the appropriate model, and these electrodes were successfully fabricated using DC sputtering and photolithography. A new model for the bulk defect equilibrium in LSM was proposed and shown to be a better fit to nonstoichiometry data at low temperatures. The fitting was carried out with a particle swarm optimizer and a rigorous method for identification. It was shown that a model for the interface structure between LSM and yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) that assumes free oxygen vacancies in YSZ does not accord with experimental observations. Cluster variation method (CVM) was adapted for analysis of the problem, and a new analytical method combining CVM and electrical contributions to the free energy was proposed.