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Mechanical Properties and Phase Stability of Oxygen Permeable Membranes La0.5Sr0.5Fe1-xCoxO3-?

by Lein, Hilde Lea

Abstract (Summary)
Ceramic membranes made from mixed oxygen-ionic and electronic conducting perovskite oxides can selectively separate oxygen from air at elevated temperatures. These membranes have several potential applications that require a continuous supply of oxygen. For example, they may be an alternative for cryogenic production of oxygen or alternative electrode materials in solid oxide fuel cells. Of particular significance is the partial oxidation of methane to syngas (CO + H2). By combining air separation and partial oxidation of natural gas into a single step, the need for expensive oxygen production by cryogenic means may be eliminated. Combined with existing processes for gas-to-liquid production such as Fisher-Tropsch and methanol synthesis, the MIEC membrane technology represents a very attractive route for conversion of natural gas to liquid fuels.The research in this field was initially concerned with the search for materials with the optimum oxygen flux. Today, the long term stability of the membranes is probably the main issue. The membranes have to be stable under operating conditions, which include mechanical stability and chemically compatibility with other materials like sealing and support materials. However, the current understanding of the long term chemical and mechanical reliability is poor and this is one of the major challenges for solid state ionic research. The aim of this work has been to investigate the mechanical properties and the chemical stability of La0.5Sr0.5Fe1-xCoxO3-? (x = 0, 0.5, 1) materials when they are exposed to thermal and chemical gradients.The chemically induced stresses due to reduction of the valence state of the transition metals are of particular importance with respect to the mechanical stability. In paper I, the oxygen non-stoichiometry, investigated by thermogravimetrical analysis, and thermal end chemical expansion, studied by dilatometry and high temperature X-ray diffraction, of La0.5Sr0.5Fe1-xCoxO3-? materials are reported. The oxygen deficiency was observed to increase with decreasing partial pressure of oxygen and increasing temperature corresponding to expectations and previous reports. At ambient temperature the thermal expansion coefficient of the materials were in the range 15- 18·10-6 K-1. Above a certain temperature thermal reduction of the material take place, and the thermal expansion coefficient due to chemical expansion raise to 16-36·10-6 K-1. The chemical expansion ?c, defined as the linear expansion due to a change in partial pressure of oxygen at constant temperature, reached a maximum in the range 0.036-0.039 for the materials studied at 800ºC. The change in ionic radii of the transition metals is the main contribution to the chemical expansion. The crystal structure of the perovskite materials were shown to be slightly rhombohedral at ambient temperatures and a transition to cubic phase were observed above 300ºC.This non-linear thermal expansion behavior is a major challenge for the applications of the mixed conductor materials. La0.5Sr0.5Fe1-xCoxO3-? membranes in an oxygen partial pressure gradient will have different oxygen deficiency on either side of the membrane. The increasing oxygen deficiency is accompanied by a volume expansion as shown in paper I, and this will lead to chemically induced stresses. These stresses and the failure that might follow can be prevented by creep of the materials. Creep is also important due to dimensional stability. In paper II, the steady-state creep performance under compression of La0.5Sr0.5Fe1-xCoxO3-? (x = 0.5, 1) as a function of temperature, atmosphere, load and two different grain sizes is reported. The stress exponent found for the materials was close to unity and an unusual low inverse grain size exponent close to one was found for one of the materials. The activation energy of the two materials was not equal and the influence of secondary phases on the creep was discussed. The obtained creep behavior and microstructural investigation after measurements point to a diffusion related mechanism for the creep. Higher creep rates are found under reducing conditions and this suggest that creep relaxation of mechanical or chemical induced stresses may enhance the mechanical stability of oxygen permeable membranes.In Paper III, the mechanical properties of La0.5Sr0.5Fe1-xCoxO3-? (x = 0.5, 0.75, 1) were investigated by several methods. Fracture strength was measured by four-point bending, fracture toughness was measured by SENB and SEVNB methods and finally Young’s modulus were investigated by four-point bending and resonant ultrasound spectroscopy. Four-point bending showed a non-linear ferroelastic behavior at ambient temperature due to rhombohedral crystal structure. Above the ferroelastic to paraelastic transition temperature the materials showed elastic behavior, however, at temperatures from about 800ºC a non-elastic respond was observed due to creep. The measured fracture strength and fracture toughness were observed to increase with increasing temperature, which was attributed to frozen-in stress gradients in the materials during cooling due to different oxygen stoichiometry. These stress gradients caused the low fracture strength and fracture toughness at ambient temperature. At higher temperatures, the stresses are assumed to relax resulting in a higher strength and fracture toughness. At high temperature, the non-linear respond made systematic errors in the calculated strength and fracture toughness. The Young’s modulus was measured from four-point bending and by resonant ultrasound spectroscopy for two of the materials. These data obtained by these two different methods were not in good agreement, which demonstrate the difficulty to obtain reliable data for the Young’s modulus of such materials by four-point bending. The presented findings have demonstrated the importance of understanding ferroelasticity and chemically induced stresses in order to comprehend the mechanical properties of such mixed valence state perovskite materials.A high oxygen flux is required in order to realize the oxygen permeable membrane technology. At the same the chemical stability of the materials in a pO2 gradient must be good for a sufficient long period of time. The oxygen flux performance and the long term stability of La0.5Sr0.5Fe1-xCoxO3-? (x = 0, 0.5, 1) are the topics of Paper IV and V.Oxygen fluxes through the membranes are found as a function of oxygengradient and temperature in a oxygen permeation cell using air and inert gas on each side. The oxygen flux was observed to increase with decreasing pO2 on the secondary side until the surface exchange became rate limiting and the fluxes reach a constant value. By further increase of the pO2 gradient, the flux seemed to decrease and this was attributed to the pO2 dependence of the surface exchange coefficient. The apparent activation energy of the oxygen permeation was in good accordance with previous investigation of similar materials.After about 5 week of exposure in an oxygen gradient at about 1150°C, the membranes were carefully examined by electron microscopy for evidence for kinetic demixing and decomposition. Dependent of the overall composition of the membrane, different secondary phases were formed at the primary surface of the membrane. For the cobalt containing materials, isolated grains or clusters of grains of cobalt oxide were formed. In case of the La0.5Sr0.5FeO3-? membrane, a dense and about 20 µm thick layer of the secondary phase SrFe12O19 was formed at the primary side. The overall (La+Sr)/(Fe+Co) ratio was also seen to influence on the phase formed at the primary side. Kinetic demixing was also demonstrated in all the membranes although the metal concentration profiles were not drastically changed from the initial concentrations. The formation of secondary phases was reflected in the (La+Sr)/(Fe+Co) ratio across the membrane. The largest deviation from the nominal stoichiometry was seen close to the surfaces indicating steeper chemical gradients close to the surfaces. These phenomena may strongly limit the long term stability of thinner membranes e. g. films on a porous substrate.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Norges teknisk-naturvitenskaplige universitet

School Location:Norway

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2005

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