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Microstructural Statistics in Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Electrodes

G. Rohrer and P. Salvador/CMU MRSEC, Carnegie Mellon University, NSF DMR-
L. Wilson and C. Johnson/National Energy Technology Laboratory
Cathodes in solid oxide fuel cells consist of interconnecting and contacting two-phase interfaces and three-phase lines in a complex three-phase microstructure. The interfacial crystallography, which influences the reaction rates at the cathode and cell performance, is dynamic and changes in response to thermal loads and to interfacial electrochemical polarizations. In this collaboration, techniques developed by the MRSEC were used to unravel the complex structure of solid oxide fuel cells. In this collaboration, we found that the interfaces between the solid materials in the cathode, lanthanum strontium manganate and yttria stabilized zirconia, which are in contact with the gaseous environment, meet at characteristic low index surface orientation orientations. These findings will be used to improve lifetimes and optimize the performance of solid oxide fuel cells.