In this study, the effects of an anode functional layer (AFL) with controlled thickness on physical and electrochemical properties of a micro-tubular SOFC have been systematically studied. A series of electrolyte/ AFL/anode triple-layer hollow fibres with controllable AFL thicknesses (16.9-52.7 μm) have been fabricated via a single-step phase-inversion assisted co-extrusion technique. Both robustness of the cell and gas-tightness of the electrolyte layer are considerably improved by introducing the AFL of this type. The fracture force of the sample with the thickest AFL (9.67 N) almost doubles when compared to the electrolyte/anode dual-layer counterpart (5.24 N). Gas-tightness of the electrolyte layer is also considerably increased as AFL contributes to better-matched sintering behaviours between different components. Moreover, the formation of an AFL simultaneously with electrolyte and anode significantly improves the cell performances. The sample with the thinnest AFL (approximately 16.9 mm, 6% of the total anode thickness) leads to a 30% (from 0.89 to 1.21 W cm-2) increase in maximum power density, due to increased triple-phase boundaries (TPB). However, further increase in TPB from a thicker AFL is less effective for improving the cell performance, due to the substantially increased fuel diffusion resistance and subsequently higher concentration polarization. This indicates that the control over the AFL thickness is critically important in avoiding offsetting the benefits of extended TPB and consequently decreased cell performances.
- Hollow fibre
- Micro-tubular SOFC