A three dimensional numerical model of a practical planar solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) stack based on the finite element method is constructed to analyze the thermal stress generated at different uniform temperatures. Effects of cell positions, different compressive loads, and coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) mismatch of different SOFC components on the thermal stress distribution are investigated in this work. Numerical results indicate that the maximum thermal stress appears at the corner of the interface between ceramic sealants and cells. Meanwhile the maximum thermal stress at high temperature is significantly larger than that at room temperature (RT) and presents linear growth with the increase of operating temperature. Since the SOFC stack is under the combined action of mechanical and thermal loads, the distribution of thermal stress in the components such as interconnects and ceramic sealants are greatly controlled by the CTE mismatch and scarcely influenced by the compressive loads.

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