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Increasing the Thermal Stability of Aluminum Titanate for Solid Oxide Fuel Cell AnodesSolid-oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) show great potential as a power source for future space exploration missions. Because SOFCs operate at temperatures significantly higher than other types of fuel cells, they can reach overall efficiencies of up to 60% and are able to utilize fossil fuels. The SOFC team at GRC is leading NASA's effort to develop a solid oxide fuel cell with a power density high enough to be used for aeronautics and space applications, which is approximately ten times higher than ground transport targets. layers must be able to operate as a single unit at temperatures upwards of 900'C for at least 40,000 hours with less than ten percent degradation. One key challenge to meeting this goal arises from the thermal expansion mismatch between different layers. The amount a material expands upon heating is expressed by its coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE). If the CTEs of adjacent layers are substantially different, thermal stresses will arise during the cell's fabrication and operation. These stresses, accompanied by thermal cycling, can fracture and destroy the cell. While this is not an issue at the electrolyte-cathode interface, it is a major concern at the electrolyte-anode interface, especially in high power anode-supported systems. electrolyte are nearly identical. Conventionally, this has been accomplished by varying the composition of the anode to match the CTE of the yittria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) electrolyte (approx.10.8x10(exp -6/degC). A Ni/YSZ composite is typically used as a base material for the anode due to its excellent electrochemical properties, but its CTE is about 13.4x10(exp -6/degC). One potential way to lower the CTE of this anode is to add a small percentage of polycrystalline Al2TiO5, with a CTE of 0.68x10(exp -6/degC, to the Ni/YSZ base. However, Al2TiO5 is thermally unstable and loses its effectiveness as it decomposes to Al2O3 and TiO2 between 750 C and 1280 C. be used as additives to increase the thermal stability of Al2TiO5 in SOFC operating conditions without adversely affecting the electrochemical properties of the SOFC anode. Three candidate materials were chosen through an extensive literature review: MgO, Fe2O3, and ZrTiO4. Although all three have been shown to prevent Al2TiO5 decomposition under various conditions, their effectiveness in the temperature range and atmosphere of the SOFC has not yet been evaluated. Several batches of Al2TiO5 with varying amounts of additives were prepared, exposed to reducing and oxidizing atmospheres at elevated temperatures, and the resulting decomposition of Al2TiO5 was measured. The most promising additives were further evaluated with the goal of ultimately preparing low CTE anodes that are chemically compatible to current systems. Adding minor constituents to stabilize Al2TiO5 could ultimately preserve its low CTE for the life of the fuel cell and improve the cell's long-term performance without a drop in anode conductivity. Further, these low CTE filler additions could allow the use of new sulfur tolerant anode materials, improving the viability of SOFCs for future aeronautics and space applications. Every SOFC consists of a cathode and an anode separated by an electrolyte, These three One way to avoid this problem is to design the cell such that the CTEs of the anode and The objective of this summer research project was to evaluate several materials that could
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Bender, Jeffrey B. (Pennsylvania State Univ. PA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2004
Publication Information
Publication: Research Symposium II
Subject Category
Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle20050186580Analytic PrimaryResearch Symposium II