BaZrO3-based materials doped with a trivalent cation have excellent chemical stability and relatively high proton conductivity which makes them potential proton conducting oxide materials for various electrochemical device applications such as hydrogen processing, high-temperature electrolysis, and solid electrolyte in fuel cells. However, BaZrO3 showed poor sinterability, requiring high sintering temperatures (1700–2100 °C) with longtime sintering (20–100 h) to achieve the desired microstructure and grain growth. This sintering problem can be solved by slightly doping BaZrO3 with a sintering aid element. Therefore, in this study, two different zirconate proton conductors: BaZr0·9Y0·1O3-α (BZY) and BaZr0·955Y0·03Co0·015O3-α (BZYC) were sintered in an air atmosphere and an oxygen atmosphere for 20 h in the temperature range of 1500–1640 °C. The sinterability was evaluated by analyzing the XRD diffraction patterns, lattice constant, lattice strain, crystallite size, relative density, open porosity, closed porosity, surface morphology, grain size, and grain boundary distribution, using the XRD, SEM, EDX, and Archimedes density measurement methods. It is concluded that in an oxygen atmosphere, sintering aid Co not only improves the relative density but also produces highly dense fine particles with clear grain boundaries which are promising for electrochemical hydrogen device applications.
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