Due to their high operating temperature, there has been speculation that thermal radiation may play an important role in the overall heat transfer within the electrode and electrolyte layers of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). This paper presents a detailed characterization of the thermophysical and radiative properties of the composite materials, which are then used to define a simple 2-D model incorporating the heat transfer characteristics of the electrode and electrolyte layers of a typical planar SOFC. Subsequently, the importance of thermal radiation is assessed by comparing the temperature field obtained using a conduction model with fields obtained using coupled conduction/radiation models. Contrary to some published literature, these results show that radiation heat transfer has a negligible effect on the temperature field within these components, and does not need to be accommodated in comprehensive thermal models of planar SOFCs.

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