Low Cost Fabrication of Thin-Film Ceramic Membranes for Nonshrinking Substrates
APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
Tubular solid oxide fuel cells Ceramic membrane fabrication Electrolytic separation
Produces high quality films on non-shrinking substrates Scalable for low cost industrial production Minimum number of processing steps Enables sintering at lower temperatures by increasing the green (pre-sintered) density of the film
Certain fuel cell manufacturing specifications require deposition of a thin ceramic membrane onto a substrate that doesn't shrink over it's lifetime. Pre-firing the substrate improves substrate reliability and may lower its cost. This requires a film that has minimal volume change during drying and sintering. Craig Jacobson, Steven Visco, and Lutgard DeJonghe have discovered that by systematically adjusting the concentration of suspended particles and current density /voltage used in electrophoretic deposition (EPD), they can produce high density green (pre-sintered) films that can be dried and sintered onto a non-shrinking substrate without cracking or delaminating. This method has the potential for large-scale, cost-effective production.
The Berkeley Lab method has a combination of characteristics that make it preferable to other methods of applying films to non-shrinking substrates. Unlike electrochemical vapor deposition, which is inherently a capital intensive batch process, the Berkeley Lab method is inexpensive and scalable. In contrast to films produced using colloidal deposition, the green films fabricated with the Berkeley Lab EPD method are highly dense and only shrink minimally during sintering, thus eliminating cracking and delamination. Conventional EPD methods produce films with lower green densities leading to cracking during drying and/or sintering due to the large volume change of the film relative to the non-shrinking substrate.
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