In solid oxide cell (SOC) electrodes, nickel oxide reduction is a fundamental step occurring during the initial stages of cell operation. The reduction procedure is considered to be crucial in producing the final fuel electrode microstructure. This work studies the reduction reaction occurring in a SOC fuel electrode by means of X-ray ptychographic nanotomography. The same microstructure is analyzed in its pristine state and after 1 h of reduction at 850 °C, in dry hydrogen. The microstructure evolution is discussed in terms of changes in volume fractions, surface areas, and connectivity of the different constituent materials. The pore network in the unreduced cermet is revealed to be fully isolated, implying that reduction proceeds inwards from the edges of the sample towards the center. For the given experimental conditions we report that reduction is complete after 1 h of treatment but the resulting nickel network is not yet percolated and detached from the yttria-stabilized zirconia.
- 3D reconstruction
- Solid oxide cell