Combining binder burnout and sintering in a convection batch furnace with eductor technology provides temperature and atmosphere uniformity throughout the entire furnace chamber for processing solid oxide fuel cells.
Solid-oxide fuel cells (SOFC) are precision electrochemical reactors that require uniformity, stability and reliability across all cells in a stack to achieve strong market success. Their performance largely depends on the manufacturing process of the individual ceramic cells. As in all ceramic processes, the thermal uniformity in the firing process strongly affects the resulting product properties. SOFC production steps including drying, firing and brazing challenge the process engineer to attain exceptional control to maintain flatness, achieve required density and limit interfacial reactions. To improve the potential for success, SOFC manufacturers must improve the control of the firing process. The steps necessary to achieve control of the SOFC firing process, and recommendations to overcome the challenges to yield improved process and product uniformity are discussed in this article.