Research Papers

Monte Carlo Investigation of Particle Properties Affecting TPB Formation and Conductivity in Composite Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Electrode-Electrolyte Interfaces

[+] Author and Article Information
Andrew Martinez

National Fuel Cell Research Center,  University of California-Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697-3550asm@nfcrc.uci.edu

Jacob Brouwer

National Fuel Cell Research Center,  University of California-Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697-3550jb@nfcrc.uci.edu

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 8(5), 051015 (Jun 29, 2011) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4003781 History: Received January 03, 2011; Revised January 27, 2011; Accepted March 02, 2011; Published June 29, 2011; Online June 29, 2011

A previously developed microstructure model of a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) electrode-electrolyte interface has been applied to study the impacts of particle properties on these interfaces through the use of a Monte Carlo simulation method. Previous findings that have demonstrated the need to account for gaseous phase percolation have been confirmed through the current investigation. In particular, the effects of three-phase percolation critically affect the dependence of TPB formation and electrode conductivity on (1) conducting phase particle size distributions, (2) electronic:ionic conduction phase contrast, and (3) the amount of mixed electronic-ionic conductor (MEIC) included in the electrode. In particular, the role of differing percolation effectiveness between electronic and ionic phases has been shown to counteract and influence the role of the phase contrast. Porosity, however, has been found to not be a significant factor for active TPB formation in the range studied, but does not obviate the need for modeling the gas phase. In addition, the current work has investigated the inconsistencies in experimental literature results concerning the optimal particle size distribution. It has been found that utilizing smaller particles with a narrow size distribution is the preferable situation for electrode-electrolyte interface manufacturing. These findings stress the property-function relationships of fuel cell electrode materials.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Representative monodisperse electrode-electrolyte interface; blue denotes gas, orange denotes electron conducting phase, and green denotes ion conducting phase

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Figure 2

Particle size definitions with seed location indicated by shaded cell

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Figure 3

Particle size distributions utilized in simulations

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Figure 4

Current collector boundary conditions

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Figure 5

Normalized overall electrode conductivity trends for all phase contrasts studied

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Figure 6

Normalized individual TPB conductivity trends for all phase contrasts studied

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Figure 7

Active TPB trends for various amounts of MEIC in composition of electrodes (a) with and (b) without surface exchange and transport phenomena enabled

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Figure 8

Trends and correlation between peak active TPB count and MEIC volume fraction

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Figure 9

Dependence of TPB formation results on porosity of electrode (SET = surface exchange and transport)



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