Engineering solid oxide fuel cell electrode microstructure by a micro-modeling tool based on estimation of TPB length

Timurkutluk B., Altan T., Toros S., Genc O., Celik S. , Korkmaz H. G.

International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, vol.46, no.24, pp.13298-13317, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SCI Expanded) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 46 Issue: 24
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.ijhydene.2021.01.165
  • Title of Journal : International Journal of Hydrogen Energy
  • Page Numbers: pp.13298-13317
  • Keywords: Electrode microstructure, SOFC, Solid oxide fuel cell, Synthetic microstructure generation, Three/triple phase boundaries, TPBs


© 2021 Hydrogen Energy Publications LLCIn this study, a typical solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) electrode microstructure is numerically optimized in terms of the volume fraction of the catalyst, electrolyte and pore phases via a novel tool based on Dream.3D for the synthetic microstructure reconstruction and COMSOL Multiphysics® Modeling for visualizing and computing three/triple phase boundaries (TPBs). First, the properties of the representative volume element are studied by a parameter independence analysis based on the average particle size. The results indicate that the size of the representative volume element should be at least 10 times greater than the largest average particle size in the microstructure, while the number of mesh elements should be selected such that the smallest average particle size in the system is divided into at least 5. The method is then validated with the available studies in the literature and seems to agree well. Therefore, numerical reconstruction of SOFC electrodes by the proposed method is found to be a very useful tool in the viewpoints of accuracy, flexibility and cost. Finally, SOFC electrode microstructures having the same particle size distribution of an average particle size of 0.5 μm for each phase but with various phase volume fractions are generated and the resultant TPBs are computed similarly. It is found out that the volume fraction of each phase should be close to each other as much as possible to maximize the active TPB density and among the cases considered, the highest active TPB density of 9.53 μm/μm3 is achieved for an SOFC electrode including 35 vol% catalyst, 35 vol% electrolyte and 30 vol% porosity. The active TPB density is also found to be around 93% of the total TPB density.