Chad Watson and Rick Ubic
Ceramatec, Inc. develops ceramic-electrolyte thin films for gas separation/purification technologies. Specific ions (e.g., oxygen) can be selectively diffused through these films in order to obtain a desired product, such as syngas or pure O2. During production, residual stresses develop within the films which induce defects, such as pinholes, micro-cracks, and other sources of leaks, that allow gas contamination. To improve large-scale film production yield, four application techniques were analyzed for their feasibility of restoring the integrity of the films. Controlled, uniform defects were introduced to the films using a microindenter to enable an effective comparison of application techniques on film repair. Repair methods involved applying a compositionally-targeted slurry to the cracked region and sintering between 1100°C and 1300°C for three to six hours. The films were visually characterized using scanning electron microscopy to evaluate the morphological effects of each repair technique. Vacuum decay tests (0.3 - 1 kPa) were performed to determine the extent of film restoration.