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Microstructure-Induced Transport Losses in Electrochemical Electrodes

DOI: 10.1615/ICHMT.2015.IntSympAdvComputHeatTransf.1140
page 1220

Wilson K. S. Chiu
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Connecticut, 191 Auditorium Road, Storrs, CT, 06269-3139, USA


There is a critical need to understand the role of an energy material's structure, morphology, and composition on electrochemical device performance, such as electrodes used in fuel cells, batteries, and solar cells. This talk will investigate the role of a material's 3-D structure on transport of charge species, and localized Joule heating due to structural restrictions and high resistance regions during transport. Actual 3-D electrode microstructures are imaged using synchrotron-based transmission x-ray microscopy. Three-dimensional structures within the sample volume are tomographically reconstructed at ~30 nm spatial resolution. A rapid assessment tool based on the "Electrochemical Fin" concept is used to describe the transport of charge species in the 3-D shape of the microstructure, surface electrochemical reactions, and ion/electron diffusion in the bulk material. This approach uses analytical closed form solutions to accurately represent the material microstructure as a detailed 3-D network. Preliminary results indicate that computational requirements of this Electrochemical Fin approach is orders of magnitude less than current numerical methods such as finite element or lattice Boltzmann, with comparable accuracy. Solid oxide fuel cell, Li-ion battery, and dye-sensitized solar cell electrodes are examined to provide fundamental insight into the origins of microstructured-induced transport losses during operation.

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