During the operation of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), nonhomogeneous electrochemical reactions in both electrodes and boundary conditions may lead to a temperature gradient in the cell which may result in the development of thermal stresses causing the failure of the cell. Thus, in this study, effects of operating parameters (current density, flow configuration and cell size) on the temperature gradient of planar SOFCs are experimentally investigated. Two short stacks are fabricated using a small (16 cm(2) active area) and a large size (81 cm(2) active area) scandia alumina stabilized zirconia (ScAlSZ) based electrolyte supported cells fabricated via tape casting and screen printing routes and an experimental set up is devised to measure both the performance and the temperature distribution in short stacks. The temperature distribution is found to be uniform in the small short stack; however, a significant temperature gradient is measured in the large short stack. Temperature measurements in the large short stack show that the temperature dose to inlet section is relatively higher than those of other locations for all cases due to the high concentrated fuel resulted in higher electrochemical reactions hence the generated heat. The operation current is found to significantly affect the temperature distribution in the anode gas channel. SEM analyses show the presence of small deformations on the anode surface of the large cell near to the inlet after high current operations. Copyright (C) 2013, Hydrogen Energy Publications, LLC. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.