Processing of a Hybrid Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Platform

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Oh, Raymond H.
Cochran, Joe K.
Sanders, Thomas H., Jr.
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Solid oxide fuel cell platforms consisting of alternating cellular layers of yttria-stabilized zirconia electrolyte and Fe-Ni metallic interconnects (Fe45Ni, Fe47.5Ni, Fe50Ni) were produced through the co-extrusion of two particulate pastes. Subsequent thermal treatment in a hydrogen atmosphere was used to reduce iron and nickel oxides and co-sinter the entire structure. Issues surrounding this process include the constrained sintering of the layers and the evolution of residual stress between the dense, fired layers. Sintering curves for individual components of the layers were measured by dilatometry to ascertain each materials impact on overall sintering mismatch. X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy and weight loss were utilized to examine phase evolution within the Fe-Ni alloys during reduction. YSZ powders densified above ~1050C and shrinkage was rapid above the sintering temperature. Shrinkage of the interconnect occurred in two stages: reduction and the initial stages of sintering concluded around ~600C, plateauing shortly and continuing at ~900C as pore removal and grain growth ensued simultaneously. Constrained sintering resulted in the formation of remnant porosity within the interconnect layers. Interconnect compositions were chosen in efforts to minimize disparities in thermal expansion with the electrolyte. Residual strains on the surfaces of the layers were measured by x-ray diffraction. Corresponding stresses were calculated using the sin2y method. Grain growth within the interconnect prohibited random planes to be measured so stress measurements were confined to the ceramic layers. Various material properties such as thermal expansion were collected and employed in a modified finite element model to estimate residual stresses in the platform. A method for determining a crucial parameter, the zero stress temperature was outlined and incorporated. Modeled values were found to agree well with XRD values, providing indirect confirmation of the zero stress temperature calculations. Discrepancies were attributed to microcracks found within the layer that arose due to residual stress values surpassing the tensile strength of the zirconia.
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