Change in the Microstructure of Ferritic Stainless Steel with Surface Roughness and the Number of Thermal Cycles
Keywords:fuel cells, interconnect, ferritic stainless steel, thermal cycling, oxidation, and microstructure
One of the candidates for metallic interconnects of solid oxide fuel cells is ferritic stainless steel, Crofer 22 APU. Ferritic stainless steel Crofer 22 APU specimens with different surface roughness were prepared by grinding with SiC powder papers of various grits and then thermally cycled in air. Variation in the microstructure of the samples having different roughness with thermal cycling was investigated. Polished Crofer 22 APU specimens after three and five thermal cycles had relatively flat oxide layers with thicknesses of about 13.8 and 17.9 μm, respectively. Micrographs of a trench made by milling with FIB (focused ion beam) for a Crofer 22 APU specimen ground with grit 80 SiC powder paper after 8 thermal cycles (total oxygen exposure time of 200 h at 1073 K), captured by ESB (energy selective back-scattering) and SE2 (type II secondary electrons), showed that the surface of the sample was very coarse and its oxide layer was undulated. In the oxide layer, the phase of the sublayer was Cr2O3, and that of the top layer was (Cr, Mn)3O4 spinel. The surface of the sample ground with grit 80 SiC powder paper was very rough after 60 thermal cycles (total oxygen exposure time of 1500 h at 1073 K). The polished Crofer 22 APU is a better applicant to an interconnect of SOFC than those with rougher surfaces.
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