Wenyuan Li

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

xingbo liu

Committee Co-Chair

kirk gerdes

Committee Member

Edward m sabolsky

Committee Member

xueyan song

Committee Member

nianqiang wu


Oxide anodes for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) with the advantage of fuel flexibility, resistance to coarsening, small chemical expansion and etc. have been attracting increasing interest. Good performance has been reported with a few of perovskite structure anodes, such as (LaSr)(CrMn)O3. However, more improvements need to be made before meeting the application requirement. Understanding the oxidation mechanism is crucial for a directed optimization, but it is still on the early stage of investigation. In this study, reaction mechanism of oxide anodes is investigated on doped YCrO 3 with H2 fuel, in terms of the origin of electrochemical activity, rate-determining steps (RDS), extension of reactive zone, and the impact from overpotential under service condition to those properties.;H2 oxidation on the YCs anodes is found to be limited by charge transfer and H surface diffusion. A model is presented to describe the elementary steps in H2 oxidation. From the reaction order results, it is suggested that any models without taking H into the charge transfer step are invalid. The nature of B site element determines the H2 oxidation kinetics primarily. Ni displays better adsorption ability than Co. However, H adsorption ability of such oxide anode is inferior to that of Ni metal anode. In addition, the charge transfer step is directly associated with the activity of electrons in the anode; therefore it can be significantly promoted by enhancement of the electron activity. It is found that A site Ca doping improves the polarization resistance about 10 times, by increasing the activity of electrons to promote the charge transfer process.;For the active area in the oxide anode, besides the traditional three-phase boundary (3PB), the internal anode surface as two-phase boundary (2PB) is proven to be capable of catalytically oxidizing the H2 fuel also when the bulk lattice is activated depending on the B site elements. The contribution from each part is estimated by switching the electrolyte to change 3PB kinetics. Compared to Ni, Co doping activates the bulk oxygen more significantly, promoting the reaction at 2PB. The active surface reaction zone is found to be enlarged by the electrolyte with high oxygen activity (SSZ vs. YSZ) when charge transfer is one of the RDS. Due to the larger exchange current for charge transfer in 3PB with SSZ electrolyte, the adsorption gradient zone is broadened, leading to enhanced surface reaction kinetics. The potential application of such finding is demonstrated on SSZ/YSZ/SSZ sandwich, showing largely improved electrode performance, opening a wide door for the utilization of electrolytes that are too expensive, fragile or instable to be used before.;The bulk path way in 2PB reaction can be affected by overpotential in terms of local vacancy concentration, built-in electrical field and stability. It is proven that an uneven distribution of lattice oxygen is established under operation conditions with overpotential by both qualitative analysis and analytic solution. An electrostatic field force is present besides the concentration gradient in the anode lattice to control the motion of oxygen ions. Compared to the usual estimation based on chemical diffusion mechanism, the real deviation of ionic defects concentration under polarization from the equilibrium state near electrode/electrolyte interface is smaller with the built-in electrical field. The overpotential is demonstrated to be able to open up or shut down the bulk pathway depending on the ionic defects of electrodes. The analysis on the bulk pathway in terms of local charged species and various potentials provides new insight in anion diffusion and electrode stability.