Spray pyrolysis of ceramic powders for energy, environmental and electronic applications

This content has been provided by Cerpotech.

Advanced ceramic powders are used in many applications involving advanced materials. These cover devices in the energy, environmental and electronic industries. Cerpotech delivers high-quality ceramic powders for these applications, as well as many others.

Production of ceramic powders via spray pyrolysis

Advanced ceramic powders are prepared by spray pyrolysis. This method enables the production of high-purity, sub-micron sized particles with a homogeneous chemical composition.

For spray pyrolysis, a precursor salt in solution is first atomised into droplets. After this, the solvent is evaporated and the precursor is precipitated before being dried.

 

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The spray pyrolysis method involves atomisation of a precursor solution followed by evaporation of the solvent to form the ceramic powder. 

 

After the evaporation step, a shell of metal salts remains. The pyrolysis step then involves the decomposition of this shell into a homogeneous complex metal oxide of the desired composition. Following this, the metal oxide shell undergoes calcination, in which the particles are heated in air to achieve the desired phase. Finally, the shell structures are milled to form a submicron ceramic oxide powder.

 

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An overview of the spray pyrolysis and post-treatment steps for forming ceramic oxide powders.

 

The spray pyrolysis method for synthesis of ceramic powders is well suited to larger scale production as a result of its simplicity and cost-effectiveness of the process. Cerpotech’s production facility encompasses the complete process chain from raw chemicals to the finished ceramic powder and has an annual capacity of more than 10 tons.

Materials & properties

Through spray pyrolysis, it is possible to produce a wide range of ceramic powders. Cerpotech provides nanopowders with compositions including the elements highlighted in the periodic table below.

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 Cerpotech’s range of ceramic powders prepared via spray pyrolysis includes elements displayed in green.

 

Examples of some of Cerpotech’s popular ceramic powders include lanthanum strontium manganite (La1‑xSrxMnO3, LSM), barium yttrium zirconate (BaZr1‑xYxO3, BYZ), lanthanum nickelate (La2NiO4, LNO) and gadolinium-doped ceria (Ce1‑xGdxO2-δ, CGO).

The quality of such nanopowders prepared via spray pyrolysis is ensured through strict quality control. The ceramic powders are examined via x-ray diffraction (XRD) for high-phase purity. Other analysis methods include scanning electron microscopy (SEM), particle size distribution (PSD) and the Brunauer, Emmet and Teller (BET) method for determination of specific surface area.

Cerpotech prides themselves on their powders’ exact stoichiometry, low levels of contaminants, high homogeneity, excellent sinterability (meaning reduced processing temperatures) and narrow particle size distribution.

 

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Particle size distribution for a typical ceramic powder from Cerpotech.

 

 Comparison of Cerpotech lanthanum nickelate (La2NiO4, LNO) powder for oxygen separation membranes prepared by spray pyrolysis (powder A) with a co-precipitated powder (powder B) by the SINTEF independent research institute highlights the superior phase purity, sinterability and membrane performance of Cerpotech’s ceramic nanopowders. 

 

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Presence of secondary phase in powder B while Cerpotech powder is phase pure.

 

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Higher sinterability of Cerpotech powder compared to powder B.

 

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Membrane prepared from Cerpotech powder shows a higher oxygen flux compared to that of a membrane prepared from powder B.

 

Applications of advanced ceramic powders

Cerpotech’s ceramic nanopowders are applied in a range of industries.

Energy

In the energy sector, they are the powder of choice for batteries, thermoelectric devices and solid oxide fuel cells. For solid oxide fuel cells, the ceramic powders are produced for cathodes, electrolyte powders, proton conductors, contact paste powders and for customised applications. The powders for these applications include: Some of these include:

Environmental

Environmental applications include catalysis, photocatalysts and gas separation membranes. Materials for these include:

Electronic

Electronic applications include lead-free piezoceramics and lead-free electroceramics. Materials for these include:

Cerpotech also delivers doped forms of KNN and BTO.

Cerpotech is an industry leader when it comes to providing large batches, consistent quality, proprietary compositions, customised compositions and composition ranges for screening, all at an attractive cost.

Industrial supply of advanced solid oxide fuel cell materials

 

 

To find out more about the product range, view Cerpotech’s products on Matmatch or to get in touch, visit the Cerpotech supplier page.

 

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Article by Cerpotech

Cerpotech is specialized in the production of advanced ceramic powders for functional materials. Our production capabilities include customized batches for R&D purposes as well as ton-scale supply of powders for industrial production. With our unique production process, we synthesize high quality ceramic powders that are tailored to the specific processing requirements and end-product functionalities of our customers. Thereby, we enable our customers and partners to develop and produce innovative products in many different technology fields. The main applications are: • Energy – fuel cells, electrolysers and batteries • Environmental – membranes and catalysts • Electronics –electroceramics and lead-free piezo materials Cerpotech is located in Trondheim, Norway. Our company was founded in 2007 at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. We are a highly-qualified team that would like to support you all the way from your research projects to your production activities.