Research Papers

Mechanical Characterization of Thin SOFC Electrolytes With Honeycomb Support

[+] Author and Article Information
Mark E. Walter

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering,
The Ohio State University,
201 West 19th Avenue,
Columbus, OH 43210
e-mail: walter.80@osu.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF FUEL CELL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received August 23, 2012; final manuscript received November 9, 2012; published online January 10, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Masashi Mori.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 10(1), 011001 (Jan 10, 2013) (7 pages) Paper No: FC-12-1077; doi: 10.1115/1.4023257 History: Received August 23, 2012; Revised November 09, 2012

Planar solid oxide fuel cells are made up of repeating sequences of electrolytes, electrodes, seals, and current collectors. The electrolyte should be as thin as possible for optimal electrochemical efficiency; however, for electrolyte-supported cells, the thin electrolytes are susceptible to damage during production, assembly, and operation. To produce cells that are sufficiently mechanically robust, electrolytes can be made having a cosintered honeycomb structure that supports thin, electrochemically efficient electrolyte membranes. Use of finite element analysis is desirable to mechanically characterize such electrolytes. To maintain reasonable numbers of elements and element aspect ratios, it is not possible to simultaneously model the small-scale details together with the overall membrane response. A two-scale approach is devised: the smaller mesoscale analyzes a representative area of the electrolyte, while the larger macroscale examines the electrolyte as a whole. Elastic properties for the mesoscale model are measured over a range of temperatures using a sonic resonance technique. Effective properties for the macroscale are obtained over a range of mesoscale geometries and can be obtained without needing to rerun the mesoscale simulations. The effective properties are experimentally validated using four-point bend experiments on representative samples. The bulk properties and the effective properties can then be used as material inputs for the macroscale model in order to design cells that are more sufficiently mechanically robust without sacrificing electrochemical performance.

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Fig. 1

Geometry of the proposed nonuniformly thick SOFC electrolyte with honeycomb support

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Fig. 2

Two-scale modeling approach used to characterize the nonuniformly thick electrolyte membranes

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Fig. 3

Sample data obtained from a resonance test

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Fig. 4

The first five resonance modes (top to bottom) obtained using ANSYS

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Fig. 5

Temperature-dependent Young's modulus determined by a resonance technique

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Fig. 6

The repeating unit cell for various orientations

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Fig. 7 %AA

versus %Eeq for geometries having common thicknesses

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Fig. 8

Theoretical stiffness of the support layer as calculated from simulation results, the curve fit in Eq. (9), and generic honeycombs in Ref. [18]

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Fig. 9

Flexural stress-strain data calculated from four-point bend loads and displacements




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