Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology

, Volume 86, Issue 3, pp 617–630 | Cite as

Electrical and electrochemical characteristics of La0.6Sr0.4CoO3-δ cathode materials synthesized by a modified citrate-EDTA sol-gel method assisted with activated carbon for proton-conducting solid oxide fuel cell application

  • Abdullah Abdul Samat
  • Abdul Azim Jais
  • Mahendra Rao Somalu
  • Nafisah Osman
  • Andanastuti Muchtar
  • Kean Long Lim
Original Paper: Nano-structured materials (particles, fibers, colloids, composites, etc.)


The electrical conductivity and electrochemical performance of a La0.6Sr0.4CoO3-δ (LSC) cathode produced by a modified citrate-EDTA sol-gel method assisted with activated carbon are characterized for a proton-conducting solid oxide fuel cell (H+ −SOFC) application at intermediate temperature. Thermogravimetric analysis revealed that the decomposition of the unrequired intermediate compounds in the precalcined powder was completed at 800 °C. A single LSC perovskite phase was formed at a calcination temperature of 900 °C, as confirmed by X-ray diffraction analysis. The particle size, crystallite size, and BET-specific surface area of the powder are 219–221 nm, 18 nm, and 9.87 m2 g−1, respectively. The high index value of the extent of agglomeration (5.53) showed that the powder was barely agglomerated. Bulk LSC sintered at 1200 °C for 2 h showed the highest direct-current electrical conductivity (σd.c) compared to that of bulk LSC sintered at 1000 °C and 1100 °C. The value of σd.c was affected by the density and porosity of the sintered samples. The area specific resistance (ASR) of screen-printed LSC working on a proton conductor of BaCe0.54Zr0.36Y0.1O2.95 (BCZY) decreased from 5.0 Ω cm2–0.06 Ω cm2 as the temperature increased from 500 °C to 800 °C with an activation energy of 1.079 eV. Overall, in this work, the LSC material produced with the aid of activated carbon meet the requirements for the application as a cathode in an intermediate temperature H+-SOFC.


Solid oxide fuel cell LSC cathode Activated carbon Sol-gel Electrical properties 



The authors would like acknowledge the Research University grant (DIP-2016-005) provided by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Also, the authors would like to thank the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) of Malaysia for financial support provided via the Transdisciplinary Research Grant Scheme (600-IRMI/TRGS 5/3 (1/2016)-2) and the Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS/2/2014/ST05/UKM/03/1). Abdullah Abdul Samat thankfully acknowledges the MOHE and Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) for the SLAB/SLAI PhD scholarship. Facilities support from the Centre for Research and Instrumentation Management (CRIM) of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM), and Universiti Teknologi MARA is also appreciatively acknowledged.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fuel Cell InstituteUniversiti Kebangsaan MalaysiaBangiMalaysia
  2. 2.Faculty of Applied SciencesUniversiti Teknologi MARAArauMalaysia
  3. 3.Centre for Materials Engineering and Smart Manufacturing (MERCU), Faculty of Engineering and Built EnvironmentUniversiti Kebangsaan MalaysiaBangiMalaysia

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