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Diffuse interface thermodynamic models

Research Achievements

Diffuse interface thermodynamic models

A materials engineering student, William Gathright, has been on creating diffuse interface thermodynamic models of ion transport and chemical reactions in solid-oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). While motivated by the potential improvements possible in energy conversion efficiency if SOFC technology can be utilized, a much better fundamental understanding of detailed processes in the SOFC is required for improvements to be realized. This inherently interdisciplinary research topic combines fundamental aspects of materials science, electrochemistry, thermodynamics, mathematics, and computer science. The IGERT program helped him secure co-advisors in different departments and fields of study to guide his research from their respective experience bases. Significant advances in the research approach (i.e., phase field modeling) have opened many more paths for discovery and have provided much insight into processes heretofore not fully understood.