The effect of in-situ sintering temperature and time on the electronic conductivity, impedance and performance of IT-SOFC cathodes were studied. The studied cathodes were for comparison (La0.6Sr0.4)0.99CoO3 (LSC), (La0.6Sr0.4)0.99CoO3:Ce0.9Gd0.1O1.95 (LSC:CGO), La0.58Sr0.4Co0.2Fe0.8O3 (LSCF) and La0.58Sr0.4Co0.2Fe0.8O3:Ce0.9Gd0.1O1.95 (LSCF:CGO). The LSCF-based cathodes showed poor sintering capabilities compared to the LSC-based cathodes in the studied temperature range of 650–950 °C. The poor necking between individual LSCF grains lower the electronic conductivity. Furthermore, poor cathode/electrolyte adhesion was seen as an additional high frequency impedance arc, which gradually disappeared as the LSCF cathodes were sintered at increasing temperature. Effects on the impedance shape from poor cathode grain connectivity was shown through impedance simulations to result in a possible increase in the high frequency slope of the characteristic Gerischer impedance response of porous mixed ionic and electronically conducting (MIEC) cathodes. In contrast to LSCF, the LSC-based cathodes showed excellent sintering capabilities, electronic conductivity and performance. Scanning electron microscopy investigations showed that significant interaction already takes place at 750 °C between the LSC-based cathodes and the electrolyte. The polarization resistance (Rp) of the LSC based cathodes was 0.05 Ω cm2, which to our knowledge is the best performance reported in the literature for a low temperature 800 °C in-situ sintered cathode.
- In-situ sintering