A novel process for producing thick protonic ceramics for use in hydrogen separation membrane reactors is demonstrated. Polymer clay bodies based on polyvinyl acetate (PVA) and mineral oil were formulated, and they permitted parts with complex architectures to be prepared by simple, low-pressure molding in the unfired, “green” state. Ceramic proton conductors based on doped barium zirconate/cerate, made by solid-state reactive sintering, are particularly well-suited for the polymer clay process. In this work, the ceramic proton conductor, BZCY755 (BaZr0.75
) was fabricated into a variety of shapes and sizes. Test coupons were produced to confirm that the polymer clay route leads to a high-quality ceramic material suitable for the demanding environment of high-temperature membrane reactors. It has been demonstrated that protonic ceramic specimens with the requisite properties are easily prepared at the laboratory scale. The polymer clay fabrication route opens up the possibility of high-volume, low-cost manufacturing at a commercial scale, by a process similar to how dinnerware and sanitary porcelain are produced today.
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