Enhancing the Stability of Infiltrated Ni/YSZ Anodes
In this study, Ni-containing solutions were infiltrated into a symmetrical tubular half-cell, fabricated by slip-casting, composed of two porous yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) layers, separated by a 50 μm dense YSZ electrolyte. A combination of electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and electron microscopy imaging has been used to determine long term stability of the cells.
It was found that the amount of infiltrated Ni has a significant impact on the long term stability of the Ni/YSZ anodes. This can be explained by the better connectivity between Ni particles even after long term testing when there is more Ni in the structure. It was also demonstrated that high temperature treatment of the infiltrated Ni/YSZ anodes just after the first few infiltrations, followed by several further Ni infiltration steps, has a significant effect not only on the stability of the anode at 800 C, but also on the anode performance. As the YSZ backbone has the ability to dissolve NiO at higher temperatures, the dissolved NiO can be ex-soluted in the form of nano-sized Ni particles at cell working temperatures and under reducing atmospheres. This effect was also investigated using electron microscopy, revealing the size and shape of the ex-soluted Ni particles, especially after long term testing.
Finally, the effect of infiltration of cerium oxide prior to Ni infiltration on the stability of the anodes was also investigated. As the wettability of Ni particles on a reduced ceria surface is different from non-reduced ceria, the sintering behaviour of Ni on these two surfaces was found to be different as well.