Abstract

The central components for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) are the electrodes-electrolyte multilayer arrangement (PEN) and the separating bipolar plates. The PEN (Positive electrode- Electrolyte-Negative electrode) assembly consists of a dense gastight yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) electrolyte and porous electrodes for which usually Ni-YSZ cermet anode and Sr-doped LaMnO3 cathode layers are used. The various PEN units are connected in a cell stack by bipolar plates which are either metallic or ceramic ones. Furthermore, a protective layer on the metallic bipolar plates consisting of a chromium alloy is required to prevent chromium evaporation leading to a rapid and strong degradation of the SOFC performance. At the DLR Stuttgart both the DC and the RF vacuum plasma spraying technique have been further developed and adapted to meet the requirements for the manufacture of the different SOFC components. The DCVPS process using specially developed Laval-like nozzles is especially appropriate to the production of thin and dense coatings as required for the electrolyte and the protective layers. However, applying special spray parameters and nozzles it is also possible to deposit porous electrode layers. The production of the entire PEN arrangement in one consecutive DC-VPS process is the objective of the actual development. On the other hand, the RF plasma spray technique is suitable for the near net-shape production of bulk components such as the metallic bipolar plate. The development of the deposition processes for the production of SOFC components using DC and RF plasma spray methods and the results obtained concerning PEN fabrication, deposition of protective layers and the near net-shape production of metallic bipolar plates are presented in the paper.

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