Date of Thesis

5-8-2013

Thesis Type

Honors Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering

Department

Chemical Engineering

First Advisor

Ryan Snyder

Abstract

Fuel cells are a topic of high interest in the scientific community right now because of their ability to efficiently convert chemical energy into electrical energy. This thesis is focused on solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) because of their fuel flexibility, and is specifically concerned with the anode properties of SOFCs. The anodes are composed of a ceramic material (yttrium stabilized zirconia, or YSZ), and conducting material. Recent research has shown that an infiltrated anode may offer better performance at a lower cost. This thesis focuses on the creation of a model of an infiltrated anode that mimics the underlying physics of the production process. Using the model, several key parameters for anode performance are considered. These are the initial volume fraction of YSZ in the slurry before sintering, the final porosity of the composite anode after sintering, and the size of the YSZ and conducting particles in the composite. The performance measures of the anode, namely percolation threshold and effective conductivity, are analyzed as a function of these important input parameters. Simple two and three-dimensional percolation models are used to determine the conditions at which the full infiltrated anode would be investigated. These more simple models showed that the aspect ratio of the anode has no effect on the threshold or effective conductivity, and that cell sizes of 303 are needed to obtain accurate conductivity values. The full model of the infiltrated anode is able to predict the performance of the SOFC anodes and it can be seen that increasing the size of the YSZ decreases the percolation threshold and increases the effective conductivity at low conductor loadings. Similar trends are seen for a decrease in final porosity and a decrease in the initial volume fraction of YSZ.

Share

COinS