The effects of anode microstructure on mechanical and electrochemical properties were investigated for anode-supported microtubular solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). The anode microstructures can be varied by the change in pore formers. For example, the acrylic resin pore former was burnt more rapidly at lower temperature than the graphite pore former during sintering. The acrylic resin pore former can introduce macropores with a diameter of several micrometers in nickel–yttria-stabilized zirconia (Ni–YSZ) anode. The walls of the macropores were packed with the nickel and YSZ particles. Although the Ni–YSZ anode microtube using the 10 wt% acrylic resin pore former was compatible with high porosity and mechanical strength, the maximum fuel utilization was limited to 72%. On the other hand, the graphite pore former can produce a relatively uniform distribution of micropores with a diameter of several hundred nanometers. The mechanical strength was reduced with a rise in porosity for the Ni–YSZ microtube using the graphite pore former in comparison with the acrylic resin. However, a high fuel utilization of 93% was realized for the microtubular SOFCs using the 10 wt% graphite pore former in spite of lower porosity than the acrylic resin. The selection of a pore former is important to obtain higher power generation efficiency for anode-supported microtubular SOFCs.
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