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Deltech Positive Pressure Furnaces used in Fuel Cell Research
Dr. Scott Barnett and his group in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University focus on “energy and advanced technology applications through investigation of solid oxide fuel cells, lithium-ion batteries, and thermoelectrics”. (Click here to visit their “About” page.)
In 2016 Dr. Barnett’s group purchased a custom Deltech 20 atmosphere positive pressure furnace capable of sustained operation at 1000 degrees Celsius. The unit was a “top hat” model in which the furnace body raises and lowers as opposed to the platform as in the traditional bottom loading or “elevator” style. It featured a programmable pneumatic lifting mechanism. The furnace workspace was small: just three inches in diameter and six inches high. The ASME certified vessel itself was all stainless steel and featured numerous custom characteristics including numerous throughways. The relatively low operating temperature indicated the use of wire wound heating element panels. The system included a Eurotherm 3504 temperature controller, an overtemperature protection circuit, a zero crossover SCR power controller, type K compression thermocouples, and safety features such as a burst disc in the chamber top which would rupture in case the pressure rating was exceeded.
The system was one of the tools they used for their subsequent research on “varying oxygen pressures on the polarization resistance of LSCF-GDC (Lanthanum Strontium Cobalt Ferrite – Gadolinium Doped Ceria) and LSM-YSZ (Lanthanum Strontium Manganite – Yttria-Stabilized Zirconia) composite electrodes” for solid oxide fuel cells. Their findings were published in Transactions of the Electrochemical Society (ECS Transactions 68 (1) 687-697 2015). You may view the abstract here.
Our thanks to Professor Barnett for allowing us to feature information on his research.
Click here to view our blogpost about a fuel cell study conducted by one of Dr. Barnett’s colleagues, Dr. Neal Sullivan of the Colorado School of Mines. Dr. Sullivan also used a custom Deltech furnace.
(Blogger’s note: the names of the chemical compositions above should make us all grateful for the use of initialisms.)