Use of the Simple Infiltrated Microstructure Polarization Loss Estimation (SIMPLE) model to describe the performance of nano-composite solid oxide fuel cell cathodes
Nano-composite Sm0.5Sr0.5CoO3−δ (SSC)–Ce0.9Gd0.1O1.95 (GDC) and La0.6Sr0.4Co0.8Fe0.2O3−δ (LSCF)–GDC Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) cathodes with various infiltrate loading levels were prepared through multiple nitrate solution infiltrations into porous GDC ionic conducting (IC) scaffolds. Microstructural analyses indicated that the average SSC and average LSCF hemispherical particle radii remained roughly constant, at 25 nm, across multiple infiltration–gelation–firing sequences. Comparisons between symmetric cell polarization resistance measurements and Simple Infiltrated Microstructure Polarization Loss Estimation (SIMPLE) model predictions showed that the SIMPLE model was able to predict the performance of heavily infiltrated SSC–GDC and LSCF–GDC cathodes with accuracies better than 55% and 70%, respectively (without the use of fitting parameters). Poor electronic conduction between mixed ionic electronic conducting (MIEC) infiltrate particles was found in lightly infiltrated cathodes. Since these electronic conduction losses were not accounted for by the SIMPLE model, larger discrepancies between the SIMPLE-model-predicted and measured polarization resistances were observed for lightly infiltrated cathodes. This work demonstrates that the SIMPLE model can be used to quickly determine the lowest possible polarization resistance of a variety of infiltrated MIEC on IC nano-composite cathodes (NCC's) when the NCC microstructure and an experimentally-applicable set of intrinsic MIEC oxygen surface resistances and IC bulk oxygen conductivities are known. Currently, this model is the only one capable of predicting the polarization resistance of heavily infiltrated MIEC on IC NCC's as a function of temperature, cathode thickness, nano-particle size, porosity, and composition.