Effect of LSM-YSZ cathode on thin-electrolyte solid oxide fuel cell performance

Tsepin Tsai, Scott A. Barnett*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

259 Scopus citations


The effect of cathode composition, processing and structure on the performance of medium-temperature (600-800°C) solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) is described. The cathodes and physical supports for the SOFCs were two-phase mixtures of (La1-xSrx)1-yMnO3 (LSM) and Yttria-stabilized Zirconia (YSZ), the electrolytes were < 10 μm thick YSZ, and the anodes were Ni-YSZ with Y-doped CeO2 interfacial layers. It was found that the cathode overpotential was the primary factor limiting cell power densities during operation with air as the oxidant and humidified hydrogen as the fuel. Increasing the YSZ volume fraction in LSM-YSZ cathodes from 0 to 60% reduced the low-current area-specific resistance of the cells (in air and humidified hydrogen) from ∼3.3 to 0.7 Ω cm2. The use of LSM with y = 0.1 suppressed the formation of zirconate phases during cathode sintering. Optimal cathode porosity was ≈40%. Decreasing the cathode porosity below ≈30% resulted in a mass transport limitation at high current densities due to the small pore size ( < 0.5 μm) and large cathode thickness ( ≈ 1 mm). The maximum power densities measured in humidified H2 and air ranged from ∼110 mW cm-2 at 600 to 470 mW cm-2 at 800°C.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-217
Number of pages11
JournalSolid State Ionics
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Jan 1997


  • Cathode
  • Fuel cell
  • Lanthanum manganese oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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