Solid oxide fuel cell stacks are vulnerable to mechanical failures. One of the most relevant failure mechanisms is brittle fracture of the individual ceramic cells, which are an integral part of the stack structure. Even the mechanical failure of one cell can lead to temporary interruption, reduced efficiency, increased degradation and/or the complete termination of a functioning stack. This paper investigates the effects of temperature on the mechanical strength of 3% yttria-stabilised zirconia half-cells. Strength was measured using a four-point bend method at room temperature and at 600°C, 700°C and 800°C in a reducing atmosphere. The strength of an as sintered half-cell was also measured at room temperature for comparison. Weibull analysis was performed on large sample sets of 30 for statistical viability. The Weibull strength and elastic modulus of the room temperature tested reduced samples show a decrease of approximately 33% and 51% respectively, when compared to the oxidized samples tested at room temperature. When tested at elevated temperatures both Weibull strength and elastic modulus decrease further when compared to the room temperature reduced samples. However these further reductions are more likely due to thermal interactions with the microstructure of the materials. The Weibull modulus displays a decrease in the room temperature reduced and elevated temperature samples when compared to the room temperature oxidised samples.
Ceramic Engineering and Science Proceedings, 2013, p. 61-69