Modeling thin film oxide growth.

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Thin film oxidation is investigated using two modeling techniques in the interest of better understanding the roles of space charge and non-equilibrium effects. An electrochemical phase-field model of an oxide-metal interface is formulated in one dimension and studied at equilibrium and during growth. An analogous sharp interface model is developed to validate the phase-field model in the thick film limit. Electrochemical profiles across the oxide are shown to deviate from the sharp interface prediction when the oxide film is thin compared to the Debye length, however no effect on the oxidation kinetics is found. This is attributed to the simple thermodynamic and kinetic models used therein. The phase-field model provides a framework onto to which additional physics can be added to better model thin film oxidation. A model for solute trapping during the oxidation of binary alloys is developed to study non-equilibrium effects during the early stages of oxide growth. The model is applied to NiCr alloys, and steady-state interfacial composition maps are presented for the growth of an oxide with the rock salt structure. No detailed experimental data is available to verify the predictions of the solute trapping model, however it is shown to be consistent with the trends observed during the early stages of NiCr oxidation. Lastly, experimental studies of the wet infiltration technique for decorating solid oxide fuel cell anodes with nickel nanoparticles are presented. The effect of nickel nitrate calcination parameters on the resulting nickel oxide microstructures are studied on both porous and planar substrates. Decreasing the calcination temperature and dwell time, as well as a dehydration step after nickel nitrate infiltration, are all shown to decrease the initial nickel oxide particle size, but other factors such as geometry and nickel loading per unit area also affected the final nickel particle size and morphology upon reduction.

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  • 01/09/2019
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