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Research Papers

A Computational Leakage Model for Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Compressive Seals

[+] Author and Article Information
Christopher K. Green, Jeffrey L. Streator

G. W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332

Comas Haynes

Georgia Tech Research Institute, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332

Edgar Lara-Curzio

 Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 8(4), 041003 (Mar 25, 2011) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3117252 History: Received June 18, 2007; Revised July 17, 2008; Published March 25, 2011; Online March 25, 2011

One of the key obstacles precluding the maturation and commercialization of planar solid oxide fuel cells has been the absence of a robust sealant. A computational model has been developed in conjunction with leakage experiments at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The aforementioned model consists of three components: a macroscopic model, a microscopic model, and a mixed lubrication model. The macroscopic model is a finite element representation of a preloaded metal-metal seal interface, which is used to ascertain macroscopic stresses and deformations. The microscale contact mechanics model accounts for the role of surface roughness in determining the mean interfacial gap at the sealing interface. In particular, a new multiscale fast Fourier transform-based model is used to determine the gap. An averaged Reynolds equation derived from mixed lubrication theory is then applied to approximate the leakage flow across the rough annular interface. The composite model is applied as a predictive tool for assessing how certain physical parameters (i.e., seal material composition, compressive applied stress, surface finish, and elastic thermophysical properties) affect seal leakage rates. The leakage results predicted by the aforementioned computational leakage model are then compared with experimental results.

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Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Depiction of metal-metal seal used

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Figure 2

Depiction of global-local mesh used in macrocontact model

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Figure 3

Residual surface of a lapped 100 grit SS 316 substrate is depicted

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Figure 4

Flowchart of steps involved to approximate average gap using the Jackson–Streator model

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Figure 5

Experimental apparatus used for leakage testing

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Figure 6

Pressure distribution of metal-metal compressive seal with pcomp=3.45 MPa (500 psi) and T=25°C

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Figure 7

Frequency spectrum of surface for the case of 100 grit sample

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Figure 8

Average surface separation versus radius for 100 grit sample at 100 psi compressive stress

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Figure 9

Graphical comparison of leakage rate versus temperature at 300 psi compressive stress for 100 grit sample

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Figure 10

Graphical comparison of leakage rate versus compressive stress for 100 grit sample at 25°C

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Figure 11

Graphical comparison of leakage rate versus compressive stress for 100 grit sample at 500°C

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