My PhD research was focused on developing a technology necessary to in-situ monitor the temperature of an operating SOFC stack as a diagnostic tool to understand degradation and cell/stack performance.
Temperature driven performance degradation is one of the major problems that impedes the successful commercialisation of Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) technology. Thermal cycling at high temperature (usually in the range from 6000C – 9000C) and uneven temperature distribution in SOFC stack leads to severe mechanical failures such as, delamination and cracking of cell components, promoting premature degradation. in order to understand the temperature driven degradation as well as cell/stack performance, it’s highly beneficial to know the actual temperature distribution within a SOFC stack while it is in a normal operation.
Prevalent methods found in published literature on understanding SOFC stacks’ temperature distributions are mainly confined to simulations. Only a few cases pertaining to experimental temperature measurements are available. Due to complicated and rather unpredictable nature of SOFC operation, experimental measurements are believed to be more accurate than computationally modelled values.
Thermocouple thermometry is a promising method for stack temperature monitoring. However, inability to measure cell level temperature distribution with sufficiently higher spatial resolution, while causing only a minimum disturbance to stack operation is a significant drawback of present methods.