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Study of electrocatalytic activity of nanostructured oxides of Ru, Ir, Hf and La for the study of the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR)

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Jonas Batista Reis
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: São Carlos.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Instituto de Química de São Carlos
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Marcos Roberto de Vasconcelos Lanza; Nerilso Bocchi; Joelma Perez; Elton Fabiano Sitta
Advisor: Marcos Roberto de Vasconcelos Lanza

In the present work, the electrocatalytic activity of nanostructured electrocatalysts based on Ru, Ir, Hf or La supported in Printex L6 front of Oxygen Reduction Reaction (ORR) in an acid medium were studied. Initially, the influence of impregnation methods and polymeric precursors (MPP), also known as Pechini for the electrocatalysts RuO2/C and IrO2/C, was analyzed. It was evidenced in this study, that the materials obtained by MPP presented bigger efficiency for H2O2 electrogeneration when compared to the impregnation method. In the following stage, the electrocatalysts HfO2/C and LaONO3/C were prepared only by MPP. The structural properties and surface morphology were investigated by means of the characterization techniques DRX, FRX, TEM, XPS and TG. According to the XRD and TEM data, it was found that the method of metal incorporation in Printex 6L carbon promoted the formation of nanostructured oxides. Moreover, it was verified that the electrocatalysts obtained by Pechini\'s method presented smaller crystallite size (1 to 5 nm), better distribution of the oxides on the carbon matrix (fewer clusters) and smaller particle sizes. The electrochemical behavior of the electrocatalysts were evaluated by linear voltammetry (polarization curves) obtained by rotating ring-disk electrode (RRDE). The results obtained by linear voltammetry, calculations of current efficiency of H2O2 (H2O2 %), total number of exchanged electrons (nt) and of Koutecký-Levich showed that the incorporation of the electrocatalysts (Ru and Ir) in Printex 6L carbon obtained by both methods of synthesis influenced negatively on the electrogeneration of H2O2. In that case, the Ru and Ir electrocatalysts showed a tendency to a 4 electrons mechanism, that is, generation of H2O as final product of the ORR. The results also showed that the electrocatalysts containing higher Hf content, presented higher current efficiency for H2O2 when compared to carbon Printex L6, since that the catalyst containing 15% of Hf presented values of current efficiency for H2O2 around 80% and number of electrons of 2.4. Furthermore, a potential displacement for positive values of approximately 200 mV was also observed which means lower energy consumption in terms of H2O2 electrogeneration. For the La based electrocatalysts, the sample containing 7% showed better current efficiency for H2O2, with values near 87% and number of electrons of 2.3, besides a potential displacement of approximately 250 mV for more values positive. It can be inferred that the Hf and La electrocatalysts obtained by Pechini\'s method are promising for use in Gas Diffusion Electrodes (GDE) aiming in situ electrogeneration of H2O2, since they exhibit a tendency to a mechanism via 2 electrons. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 12/03770-9 - Development of gas diffusion electrodes (GDE) modified with micro and nanostructured metallic oxides for in situ electrogeneration of H2O2 for environmental applications
Grantee:Jonas Batista Reis
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate