Ex-situ tracking solid oxide cell electrode microstructural evolution in a redox cycle by high resolution ptychographic nanotomography

Salvatore De Angelis, Peter Stanley Jørgensen, Vincenzo Esposito, Esther Hsiao Rho Tsai, Mirko Holler, Kosova Kreka, Ebtisam Abdellahi, Jacob R. Bowen

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Abstract

For solid oxide fuel and electrolysis cells, precise tracking of 3D microstructural change in the electrodes during operation is considered critical to understand the complex relationship between electrode microstructure and performance. Here, for the first time, we report a significant step towards this aim by visualizing a complete redox cycle in a solid oxide cell (SOC) electrode. The experiment demonstrates synchrotron-based ptychography as a method of imaging SOC electrodes, providing an unprecedented combination of 3D image quality and spatial resolution among non-destructive imaging techniques. Spatially registered 3D reconstructions of the same location in the electrode clearly show the evolution of the microstructure from the pristine state to the oxidized state and to the reduced state. A complete mechanical destruction of the zirconia backbone is observed via grain boundary fracture, the nickel and pore networks undergo major reorganization and the formation of internal voids is observed in the nickel-oxide particles after the oxidation. These observations are discussed in terms of reaction kinetics, electrode mechanical stress and the consequences of redox cycling on electrode performance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Volume360
Pages (from-to)520-527
ISSN0378-7753
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Ex-situ
  • Ptychography
  • Nano-tomography
  • Solid oxide cell
  • Oxidation
  • Reduction

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