Electrochemical fields within 3D reconstructed microstructures of mixed ionic and electronic conducting devices

Yanxiang Zhang, Yu Chen, Ye Lin, Mufu Yan, William M. Harris, Wilson K.S. Chiu, Meng Ni, Fanglin Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The performance and stability of the mixed ionic and electronic conducting (MIEC) membrane devices, such as solid oxide cells (SOCs) and oxygen separation membranes (OSMs) interplay tightly with the transport properties and the three-dimensional (3D) microstructure of the membrane. However, development of the MIEC devices is hindered by the limited knowledge about the distribution of electrochemical fields within the 3D local microstructures, especially at surface and interface. In this work, a generic model conforming to local thermodynamic equilibrium is developed to calculate the electrochemical fields, such as electric potential and oxygen chemical potential, within the 3D microstructure of the MIEC membrane. Stability of the MIEC membrane is evaluated by the distribution of oxygen partial pressure. The cell-level performance such as polarization resistance and voltage vs. current curve can be further calculated. Case studies are performed to demonstrate the capability of the framework by using X-ray computed tomography reconstructed 3D microstructures of a SOC and an OSM. The calculation method demonstrates high computational efficiency for large size 3D tomographic microstructures, and permits parallel calculation. The framework can serve as a powerful tool for correlating the transport properties and the 3D microstructure to the performance and the stability of MIEC devices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-179
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • 3D microstructure
  • Electrolysis
  • Fuel cells
  • Mixed ionic and electronic conductors (MIEC)
  • Permeation membrane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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