MSE PhD Prospectus Defense of Jane Banner


ABSTRACT:The US navy has a critical need for air independent advanced electric power sources to replace batteries in unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs). Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are being considered as one potential replacement option. However, SOFCs typically run using atmospheric air as their oxidant and that is not an option for this underwater application. For this application pure pressurized oxygen would be used as the oxidant which motivates the search for a cathode material which would be optimal for a high oxygen partial pressure environment.

Specifically, this research focuses on cathode materials which can exploit the unique operating conditions required for UUVs. The operation in 100% oxygen atmosphere rather than air provides a significant opportunity. This is because oxygen surface exchange and bulk transport through the cathode is mediated through point defects whose concentrations are sensitive to the partial pressure of oxygen in the atmosphere surrounding the cathode. Oxygen bulk transport along with oxygen surface exchange are the rate controlling steps in oxygen reduction and incorporation at the cathode. The focus of this research is to examine the relationship between oxygen partial pressure and its effect on SOFC cathode polarization for two different families of cathode materials, namely strontium doped lanthanum manganite, and a relatively new class of cathode materials, rare-earth nickelates. The experimentally measured relationship between cathode polarization and oxygen partial pressure will be correlated with the underlying transport and surface exchange processes in both families of materials.

COMMITTEE: AdvisorProfessor Srikanth Gopalan, MSE/ME; Professor Soumendra N. Basu, MSE/ME; Professor Uday B. Pal, MSE/ME; Dr. Louis Carreiro, Naval Undersea Warfare Center

When 10:00 am to 12:00 pm on Friday, June 21, 2019
Location 15 Saint Mary's Street, Rm 105