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Ionic transport of α-alumina below 1000°C: an in-situ impedance spectrosocpy study
KTH, Superseded Departments, Materials Science and Engineering.
2004 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

Ionic conductivity of metal oxides is critical for the function of a broad range of different components, such as electrolytes in solid oxide fuel cells and alloys designed for high temperature applications. In both cases the ionic conductivity can be studied by in situ impedance spectroscopy, which is also able to reveal information on the dielectric properties of the metal oxides, and in some cases the influence of their microstructure. The focus of this thesis is on impedance spectroscopy measurements of α-alumina in the temperature range 400-1000 °C. This metal oxide has found extensive use as the protective scale on heat resistant alloys. Some unpublished work on oxygen ion conductivity of yttria-stabilized zirconia is also included.

The low electrical conductivity of α-alumina can be a source for errors and misinterpretations during impedance spectroscopy measurements. A major disturbance originates from leakage currents that appear in the experimental setup. These leakage currents are due to conduction through the gas phase around the sample, conduction on the sample surface, or poor insulation in the sample holder. It was shown that below 700 °C, conduction on the sample surface could severely distort the measurement. The magnitude of the distortions appeared to be sensitive to the type of electrodes used. The use of a so-called guard electrode was shown to effectively block the surface conduction in the measurements.

Conductivity of metal oxides is known to be dependent on their microstructure. Generally it is believed that ionic conductivity is favoured along grain boundaries and dislocations. The influence of microstructure on conductivity was studied for α-alumina in the temperature range 400-1000 °C. The conductivity of a series of highly pure and dense samples with narrow grain size distributions was measured by impedance spectroscopy. It appeared that the activation energy for conduction increased with decreasing grain size.

Results based purely on impendence spectroscopy have some inherently weaknesses. For instance no information on the nature of the charge carrier can be found. Therefore the charge transport in single crystalline α-alumina was simulated by the molecular dynamics method. The results from the simulation were then compared to results from impedance measurements on single crystalline α-alumina. From the simulation it turned out that diffusion of aluminium ions had lower activation energy than diffusion of oxygen. The activation energy of oxygen was close to the measured activation energy, and the mobility of oxygen was higher than for aluminium. Therefore the dominating charge carrier was suggested to be oxygen ions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. , 32 p.
Keyword [en]
Materials science, α-alumina, in-situ impedance spectroscopy, molecular dynamics, spark plasma sintering, conductivity, microstructure
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Materials Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-338ISBN: 91-7283-920-1OAI: diva2:9173
2004-12-13, Sal Q2, Osquldas väg 10, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2005-07-27 Created: 2005-07-27 Last updated: 2012-03-22

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