Numerical Prediction of Effective Elastic Properties and Effective Thermal Expansion Coefficient for Porus YSZ Microstructures in Solid Oxide Fuel Cells
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Solid oxide fuel cells represent a potentially important application for ceramic materials. There are, however, some significant issues which can affect the reliability and durability of the cell. Mechanical failure owing to stress is one of the critical factors which can affect the stability and working life of the fuel cell stacks. These stresses generate in Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs) owing to mechanical forces and change in temperature during fabrication, assembly and operating conditions. There can be chances of cell delamination and micro-cracks in cell electrodes if these stresses are too high. The elastic properties and thermal expansion coefficient play a vital role to improve cell stability and performance. These properties depend on the types of materials and geometries of the composites. In this research, a numerical framework to predict the effective elastic properties and the effective thermal expansion coefficient for porous Yttria-Stabilized Zirconia (YSZ) electrode microstructures in a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell is presented. The electrodes of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells are discretized as porous microstructures that are formed by randomly distributed and overlapping spheres with particle size distributions that match those of actual ceramic powder. Three-dimensional (3D) microstructures of YSZ-pore are formed with a porosity ranging from 25% to 40%. The technique involves the construction of the YSZ-pores microstructures based on measurable starting parameters and subsequent numerical prediction of effective elastic properties and effective thermal expansion coefficient. Three domain sizes are considered for the generation of YSZ-pore microstructures. The method of prediction of effective Young’s modulus (Eeff), effective Poisson’s ratio , effective bulk modulus effective shear modulus , and effective thermal expansion coefficients for various porosities (P) of Yttria-Stabilized Zirconia (YSZ) electrode material in Solid Oxide Fuel Cells is based on the Finite Volume analysis which in turn is based on the solution of the linear elastic stress analysis problem. The predicted results are compared with some theoretical correlations of two-phase composites for effective elastic properties and effective thermal expansion coefficient. It has been found that predicted results are falling inside of the upper and lower bounds.