We present here a novel processing technique that uses laser machining technique to functionalise electrolyte plates used for SOFC (Solid Oxide Fuel Cell) and SOEC (Solid Oxide Electrolyzer Cell). Alternatively to electrode-supported configurations, electrolyte-supported solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC)
are preferred in terms of mechanical robustness and resistance to redox cycles. However, higher operation temperatures are required for yttria-stabilised zirconium oxide (YSZ) electrolytes due to the thickness of the plates.
Laser engraving is being reported in the last few years as a very suitable technique for achieving cost-efficient production of high quality ceramic parts. It allows obtaining excellent shaping, versatility, accuracy and highly controlled surface finishing if compared with conventional abrasive techniques for ceramic machining. The experiments have been performed using a nanosecond solid-state laser (Rofin PowerLine S3) delivering 532 nm and a repetition rate from 5 15kHz to 150kHz. The membranes do not show problems of cracking due to thermal cycles in the final piece.
Laser processing within the nanosecond regime was used both to reduce the thickness of these membranes by laser machining and to modify the surface roughness in order to improve electrolytic properties by increasing electrolyte-electrode contact. In the last, the role of the irradiation parameters on the characteristics of the generated structures will be analyzed.
The thickness and surface quality has been characterised by confocal optical profilometry, TEM and EDBS.
Mechanical and electrochemical properties have also been tested.