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Title: Multi-phase field models and microstructural evolution with applications in fuel cell technology
Authors: Davis, Ryan Scott
Advisors: Haataja, Mikko
Contributors: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department
Subjects: Materials Science
Mechanical engineering
Computational physics
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: The solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) has shown tremendous potential as an efficient energy conversion device that may be instrumental in the transition to renewable resources. However, commercialization is hindered by many degradation mechanisms that plague long term stability. In this dissertation, computation methods are used to explore the relationship between the microstructure of the fuel cell anode and performance critical metrics. The phase field method and standard modeling procedures are introduced using a classic model of spinodal decomposition. This is further developed into a complete, multi-phase modeling framework designed for the complex microstructural evolution of SOFC anode systems. High-temperature coarsening of the metallic phase in the state-of-the-art SOFC cermet anode is investigated using our phase field model. A systematic study into the effects of interface properties on microstructural evolution is accomplished by altering the contact angle between constituent phases. It is found that metrics of catalytic activity and conductivity display undesirable minima near the contact angle of conventional SOFC materials. These results suggest that tailoring the interface properties of the constituent phases could lead to a significant increase in the performance and lifetime of SOFCs. Supported-metal catalyst systems are investigated in the first detailed study of their long-term stability and application to SOFC anode design. Porous support structures are numerically sintered to mimic specific fabrication techniques, and these structures are then infiltrated with a nanoscale catalyst phase ranging from 2% to 21% loading. Initially, these systems exhibit enhanced potential for catalytic activity relative to conventional cells. However, extended evolution results in severe degradation, and we show that Ostwald ripening and particle migration are key kinetic processes. Strong geometric heterogeneity in the support structure via a novel approach to nanopore formation is proposed as a potential solution for catalyst stabilization.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

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