Extracting Material Properties from Relaxation Experiments

Colloquium | October 10 | 4-6 p.m. | 180 Tan Hall

 Sossina Haile, Northwestern University

 Department of Chemical Engineering

Redox active oxides, with mixed ionic and electronic conductivity, are critical components in a wide range of energy technologies, serving as electrodes in fuel cells and batteries, and as reactive substrates in solar-driven thermochemical reactors. Accurate knowledge of the surface reaction rate constant, is essential for both optimal design of components using existing materials and rational discovery of new materials with enhanced catalytic activity. A variety of relaxation methods have been used extensively to determine. Such approaches rely on the change in some measurable property, most commonly conductivity, upon application of a step change in gas-phase oxygen partial pressure. Under the appropriate experimental conditions, the rate at which the property changes in response to the change in gas-phase oxygen chemical potential provides a direct measure of the material kinetic parameters. Here, we present several considerations relevant to accurate extraction of these parameters, with particular focus on identifying relaxation occurring due to thermodynamic rather than material kinetic reasons. Furthermore, while the electrical conductivity relaxation (ECR) method is one of the most widely employed relaxation techniques because of the ease with which high precision conductivity measurements can be made using samples of almost arbitrary dimensions, ECR is impractical for the evaluation of a material in which the change in conductivity in response to a change in oxygen partial pressure is extremely small. For such materials mass relaxation emerges as a viable alternative measurement approach. To this end, we describe a high temperature mass relaxation apparatus based on a gallium phosphate piezocrystal microbalance that enables measurements at temperatures as high as 700 °C.