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Keywords:

  • micromodeling;
  • porous composite cathode;
  • optimization;
  • electrochemical performance;
  • solid oxide fuel cell

Abstract

A comprehensive micromodel to predict the electrochemical performance of porous composite LSM-YSZ cathodes in solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) is developed. The random packing sphere model is used to estimate the cathode microstructural properties required for the micromodel. The micromodel developed takes into account the complex interdependency among the mass transport, electron and ion transports, and the electrochemical reaction, and can be used for optimization of the microstructure of porous LSM-YSZ composite cathodes. It is shown that the electrochemical performance of these cathodes depends on the microstructural variables of the cathode porosity, thickness, particle size ratio, and size and volume fraction of LSM particles. The effect of these microstructural variables on the cathode total resistance, as the objective function to achieve the optimum microstructure for the cathode, is studied through computer simulation. The results indicated that for a LSM-YSZ cathode operated at the average temperature of 1073.15 K, bulk oxygen partial pressure of 0.21 atm, and total current density of 5000 Am−2, and constrained to the minimum value of 1 μm for the size of LSM particles and 0.25 for the cathode porosity, the optimum microstructure is obtained at the particle size ratio of unity, LSM particle size of 1 μm and volume fraction of 0.413, porosity of 0.25, and thickness of 60 μm. The cathode total resistance corresponding to the cathode optimized is estimated to be 0.291 Ω cm2. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2012