Date of Award

Fall 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Materials Science

First Advisor

Elliott B. Slamovich

Second Advisor

Rodney W. Trice

Committee Chair

Elliott B. Slamovich

Committee Co-Chair

Rodney W. Trice

Committee Member 1

Eric Kvam

Committee Member 2

Kevin Trumble


Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are a promising element of comprehensive energy policies due to their direct mechanism for converting the oxidization of fuel, such as hydrogen, into electrical energy. Both very low pressure plasma spray and electrophoretic deposition allow working with high melting temperature SOFC suspension based feedstock on complex surfaces, such as in non-planar SOFC designs. Dense, thin electrolytes of ideal composition for SOFCs can be fabricated with each of these processes, while compositional control is achieved with dissolved dopant compounds that are incorporated into the coating during deposition. In the work reported, sub-micron 8 mole % Y2O3-ZrO2 (YSZ) and gadolinia-doped ceria (GDC), powders, including those in suspension with scandium-nitrate dopants, were deposited on NiO-YSZ anodes, via very low pressure suspension plasma spray (VLPSPS) at Sandia National Laboratories' Thermal Spray Research Laboratory and electrophoretic deposition (EPD) at Purdue University.^ Plasma spray was carried out in a chamber held at 320 - 1300 Pa, with the plasma composed of argon, hydrogen, and helium. EPD was characterized utilizing constant current deposition at 10 mm electrode separation, with deposits sintered from 1300 – 1500 °C for 2 hours. The role of suspension constituents in EPD was analyzed based on a parametric study of powder loading, powder specific surface area, polyvinyl butyral (PVB) content, polyethyleneimine (PEI) content, and acetic acid content. Increasing PVB content and reduction of particle specific surface area were found to eliminate the formation of cracks when drying. PEI and acetic acid content were used to control suspension stability and the adhesion of deposits. Additionally, EPD was used to fabricate YSZ/GDC bilayer electrolyte systems. The resultant YSZ electrolytes were 2-27 microns thick and up to 97% dense. Electrolyte performance as part of a SOFC system with screen printed LSCF cathodes was evaluated with peak power densities as high as 520 mW/cm2 at 800 °C for YSZ and 350 mW/cm 2 at 800 °C for YSZ/GDC bilayer electrolytes.