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Electrochemical formation of a Pt/Zn alloy and its use as a catalyst for oxygen reduction reaction in fuel cells

TitleElectrochemical formation of a Pt/Zn alloy and its use as a catalyst for oxygen reduction reaction in fuel cells
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsSode, A, Li, W, Yang, YG, Wong, PC, Gyenge, E, Mitchell, KAR, Bizzotto, D
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Volume110
Pagination8715-8722
Date PublishedMay
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1520-6106
KeywordsBIMETALLIC SURFACES, electrocatalysis, ELECTRONIC-PROPERTIES, KINETICS, TRANSITION-METAL SURFACES, UNDERPOTENTIAL DEPOSITION, zinc
Abstract

The characterization of an electrochemically created Pt/Zn alloy by Auger electron spectroscopy is presented indicating the formation of the alloy, the oxidation of the alloy, and the room temperature diffusion of the Zn into the Pt regions. The Pt/ Zn alloy is stable up to 1.2 V/RHE and can only be removed with the oxidation of the base Pt metal either electrochemically or in aqua regia. The Pt/ Zn alloy was tested for its effectiveness toward oxygen reduction. Kinetics of the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) were measured using a rotating disk electrode (RDE), and a 30 mV anodic shift in the potential of ORR was found when comparing the Pt/ Zn alloy to Pt. The Tafel slope was slightly smaller than that measured for the pure Pt electrode. A simple procedure for electrochemically modifying a Pt-containing gas diffusion electrode (GDE) with Zn was developed. The Zn-treated GDE was pressed with an untreated GDE anode, and the created membrane electrode assembly was tested. Fuel cell testing under two operating conditions (similar anode and cathode inlet pressures, and a larger cathode inlet pressure) indicated that the 30 mV shift observed on the RDE was also evident in the fuel cell tests. The high stability of the Pt/ Zn alloy in acidic environments has a potential benefit for fuel cell applications.

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