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Nondestructive 3-D Imaging and Analysis of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells at sub-50 nm Resolution

Categories: Materials Science and Engineering (MSE)
Speaker: Wilson K. S. Chiu, University of Connecticut
Date & Time: November 10, 2009 - 12:10pm
Location: CCR 201

Fuel cells are highly efficient energy conversion devices that can provide clean, sustainable electrical power. Not only are fuel cells environmentally friendly, they also have fuel flexibility and scalability for portable and stationary power generation. However, fuel cells are at a nascent stage of development. This seminar presents an approach to improve fuel cell performance and durability. The solid oxide fuel cell pore structure is non-destructively imaged and reconstructed using x-ray computed tomography (XCT) at sub-50 nm resolution. Multi-component lattice Boltzmann methods are used to analyze gas transport, internal fuel reformation, electrochemical reaction rates, and ionic and electronic charge transfer and polarization losses due to the electrode pore geometry. The phase- and pore-networks within a SOFC anode are examined to provide insight into the heterogeneous microstructure's contributions to the origins of transport-related losses. In-house experiments are then used to validate and refine the models. Optimized fuel cell electrodes can provide a durable high efficiency energy conversion technology for our society.

About the Speaker
Wilson K. S. Chiu joined the University of Connecticut in August 1999 where he is now Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Associate Director for Research in the Connecticut Center for Clean Energy Engineering. He earned his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Rutgers University in 1994, 1997 and 1999, respectively. His research, with financial support from the National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, Army Research Office, Department of Energy, and industry, focuses on heat and mass transfer with chemical reactions, with applications to fuel cells, chemical vapor deposition, photonics, and carbon nanomaterials. He published 46 journal articles and 93 conference articles/abstracts. Among his honors, Chiu holds the United Technologies Corporation Professorship in Engineering Innovation (2008), and is a recipient of the ASME Bergles-Rohsenow Young Investigator Award in Heat Transfer (2006), the ARO Young Investigator Award (2005), the NSF CAREER Award (2001), and the ONR Young Investigator Award (2001). He serves as an Associate Editor for the International Journal of Thermal Sciences, Guest Editor for the ASME Journal of Heat Transfer, Vice Chairman of the ASME Heat Transfer Division's K-15 Technical Committee on Transport Phenomena in Manufacturing and Materials Processing, Vice Chairman of the ASME Advanced Energy Systems Division Fuel Cell Technology Technical Committee, and is on the Editorial Board of The Open Energy and Fuels Journal and The Open Renewable Energy Journal.

Host: M John Matthewson

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