A phase field model is developed to examine microstructural evolution of an infiltrated solid oxide fuel cell cathode. It is employed to generate the three-phase backbone microstructures and morphology of infiltrate nano-particles [La1-xSrxMnO3 (LSM)]. Two-phase Y2O3 + ZrO2 and LSM backbones composed of 0.5-1 μm particles are first generated and then seeded with infiltrate, and evolution is compared for starting infiltrate particle diameters of 5 nm and 10 nm. The computed lifetime triple phase boundary (3PB) density of the infiltrated cathode is then compared to the cathode backbone. Results indicate that initial coarsening of infiltrate nano-particles is the primary evolution process, and infiltrate coarsening is the majority contributor to 3PB reduction. However, at all times, the infiltrated cathode possesses significantly greater 3PB length than even the uncoarsened backbone. Infiltrate particle size effects indicate that the smaller particle size produces greater 3PB length for the same infiltration amount, consistent with intuition. A maximum 3PB enhancement is reached when increasing infiltrate particle loading, and the maximum enhancement depends on infiltrate particle size. It is found that architectural degradation modes will insignificantly affect the lifetime performance of infiltrated cathodes. This work suggests that lifetime optimized particle size/loading combinations are identifiable, and can be precise if additional fundamental data become available.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)