Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Edward M Sabolsky


The widespread commercialization of solid-oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) and solid-oxide electrolyte cells (SOECs) is primarily limited by material degradation issues related to the required high temperature operation (>800°C). Applications of stabilized zirconia based electrolytes, which are the most commonly used oxide ion conductors, have been limited to this high temperature regime due to its low oxygen ion conductivity below 800°C. Solid electrolytes made of the BIMEVOX compositional family of materials (Bi2MexV 1-xO5.5-delta where Me=Cu, Co, Mg, Ni, Fe...) exhibit high oxide ionic conductivity similar to YSZ at a low temperature (300--600°C). Among these materials copper-substituted bismuth vanadate (Bi2V0.9Cu0.1O5.35, BICUVOX), was reported to have the highest ionic conductivity at 400°C (0.02 S/cm). It's one of the most important drawbacks of using BICUVOX, as a SOFC electrolyte is the low mechanical strength, which makes it unusable for most electrolyte supported applications. This research aims at improving mechanical strength by careful control of synthesis processing and sintering processes, thus making BICUVOX a viable material option for intermediate temperature SOFC. A co-precipitation method was used to synthesize submicron BICUVOX powder. The powder was utilized to fabricate a thin (< 250 microm) BICUVOX electrolyte membrane, with 2.5 cm2 active area and high mechanical strength. The fabricated BICUVOX membranes were densified to 97% theoretical density at lower sintering temperature and shorter time (675°C/1 h), and shows fine grain size (<1.5microm) and high mechanical strength (159 MPa).