ReaxFF reactive force-field modeling of the triple-phase boundary in a solid oxide fuel cell

Boris V. Merinov, Jonathan E. Mueller, Adri C.T. Van Duin, Qi An, William A. Goddard

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36 Scopus citations


In our study, the Ni/YSZ ReaxFF reactive force field was developed by combining the YSZ and Ni/C/H descriptions. ReaxFF reactive molecular dynamics (RMD) were applied to model chemical reactions, diffusion, and other physicochemical processes at the fuel/Ni/YSZ interface. The ReaxFF RMD simulations were performed on the H2/Ni/YSZ and C4H10/Ni/YSZ triple-phase boundary (TPB) systems at 1250 and 2000 K, respectively. The simulations indicate amorphization of the Ni surface, partial decohesion (delamination) at the interface, and coking, which have indeed all been observed experimentally. They also allowed us to derive the mechanism of the butane conversion at the Ni/YSZ interface. Many steps of this mechanism are similar to the pyrolysis of butane. The products obtained in our simulations are the same as those in experiment, which indicates that the developed ReaxFF potential properly describes complex physicochemical processes, such as the oxide-ion diffusion, fuel conversion, water formation reaction, coking, and delamination, occurring at the TPB and can be recommended for further computational studies of the fuel/electrode/electrolyte interfaces in a SOFC. (Figure Presented).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4039-4043
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 20 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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