Master thesis – Investigation of redox stability of a solid oxide cell stacks based on acoustic emission method

 In the department "Electrochemical Process and System Technologies" of IEK-9, research and development activities in the field of solid oxide cells (SOCs) focuses primarily on optimizing the performance and lifetime of stacks and systems for various applications. SOCs are electrochemical energy converters with a solid oxide ceramic electrolyte, which are typically operated at high temperatures and can achieve very high efficiencies. When operated as a fuel cell (Solid Oxide Fuel Cell: SOFC), electrolysis (Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cell: SOEC) or co-electrolysis, or even in reversible mode (reversible Solid Oxide Cell: rSOC), the SOC offers great potential for defossilization of a wide range of applications. In order to exploit this potential in the future, it is necessary to improve the competitiveness of SOCs by increasing performance, reducing degradation and minimizing manufacturing costs.


One challenge that restricts the lifetime of SOC is the stability of the fuel electrode during redox cycling (reduction-oxidation). For instance, during an unintentional fuel supply cut, high fuel utilization operation or in case of a leakage, the nickel-based fuel electrode can be subjected to oxygen and the nickel catalyst can undergo a reduction-oxidation process, which might inflict irreversible damage to the cell. Within the scope of this master thesis, the damage of SOC stacks by repeated reoxidation-reduction cycles will be investigated based on modeling and simulation. Among other things, current-voltage characteristics as well as measurement results of accompanying electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and an acoustic emission measurement will be evaluated and taken into account.

Your tasks include:

  • Literature review on acoustic emission and redox stability of SOCs
  • Investigation of acoustic wave propagation in different stack components and the transmission behaviour at the interfaces using numerical or analytical methods
  • Experimental investigation of cell damage caused by redox cycling
  • Evaluation of measurement data of acoustic emission and electrochemical characterizations
  • Documentation of the work and the results within the framework of the master`s thesis

Your Profile:

  • Ongoing master studies in mechanical engineering, physics, material science or related field
  • Experience with modelling and simulation is required, preferably with MATLAB
  • Knowledge of non-destructive testing is a great advantage, especially in structural mechanics and elastic wave in solid materials
  • Knowledge of fuel cell and/or electrolyser is desirable
  • Motivated and independent way of working
  • Good communication and writing skills in German and English

Our Offer:

We work on the very latest issues that impact our society and are offering you the chance to actively help in shaping the change! We support you in your work with:

  • An interesting and socially relevant topic for your thesis with future-oriented themes
  • Ideal conditions for gaining practical experience alongside your studies
  • An interdisciplinary collaboration on projects in an international, committed and collegial team
  • Excellent technical equipment and the newest technology
  • Qualified support through your scientific colleagues
  • The chance to independently prepare and work on your tasks
  • Flexible working hours as well as a reasonable remuneration
  • A large research campus with green spaces, offering the best possible means for networking with colleagues and pursuing sports alongside work
  • Flexible work (location) arrangements, e.g. remote work


We welcome applications from people with diverse backgrounds, e.g. in terms of age, gender, disability, sexual orientation / identity, and social, ethnic and religious origin.

A diverse and inclusive working environment with equal opportunities in which everyone can realize their potential is important to us.

We look forward to receiving your application by 26.10.2022

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47 Postdoctoral Scholarships at The University of Georgia in United States

47 Postdoctoral Scholarships at The University of Georgia in United States