Microstructural Degradation of NI-YSZ Anodes for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells – Niels Bohr Institute - University of Copenhagen

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Microstructural Degradation of NI-YSZ Anodes for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

PhD defence: Karl Thydén
Niels Bohr Institute

The Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) is a relatively efficient way of converting chemical energy from various fuel gasses, such as natural gas and hydrogen, directly into electricity. For a SOFC system to be attractive on a larger market, a life-time of >50,000 hours is generally stated as a requirement. In order to accomplish such a long life-time, fundamental understanding of potential degradation mechanisms is necessary.

In this Ph.D. project, the microstructural degradation of the porous nickel/yttria-stabilized zirconia (Ni-YSZ) anode has been studied. The metallic nickel phase has previously been proven to be unstable at the high operating temperature (700-1000ºC). Ni-YSZ materials from both high temperature aged model cermets and technologically relevant anodes of operated cells have been studied by use of a variety of microscopic techniques. The generally most common techniques are optical microscopy and conventional scanning electron microscopy (SEM). In addition to these techniques, low-voltage SEM and focused ion beam/SEM (3D) have been explored and utilized in order to study the microstructural changes within the composite materials.