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Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Sealing

UConn participated in the SECA Core Technology Program in developing a layered integrated composite seal for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells. Sealing is a critical issue in the development of reliable SOFC stacks, particularly the planar-type. Sealing has direct impact on the efficiency and longevity of SOFC stacks. SOFC seal material is subjected to a large set of stringent requirements that include mechanical (e.g. CTE match) and chemical compatibility with other cell stack components, high temperature stability, and adequate electrical resistivity, etc. The UConn seal development team (together with Inframat Corp. and Physical Accoustics Corp.) developed a layered composite seal that consisted of thin layers of metals, porous ceramics, and hermetic fillers (e.g. glass). Part of the seal can be deposited on the interconnect plate using plasma spray method. Instead of relying on a single sealant material, our composite seal is engineered so that each layer helps satisfying a subset of the structural and functional requirements. The layers in the composite seal are arranged to allow a gradual transition of thermal-mechanical properties and to minimize adverse chemical interactions of the constituent materials at high temperature. The phase one work has demonstrated subscale seals with superior thermal cycling resistance and chemical stability.