Commercially available Pt metal catalysts supported on carbon black (Pt/CB) for polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) cathodes were covered with silica layers to improve their durability under the severe cathode operating conditions. The Pt metal particles in the Pt/CB catalyst grew in size during the accelerated durability tests (potential cycling between 0.6 and 1.0 V vs. RHE in an aqueous HClO4 electrolyte). Thus, the Pt/CB catalyst was seriously deactivated for the oxygen reduction reaction over the course of the durability tests. In contrast, the silica layers, which wrapped around the Pt metal particles in the silica-coated Pt/CB catalyst, prevented the migration of the Pt metal particles on the carbon supports and the diffusion of Pt cations out of the silica layers. Thus, the silica-coated Pt/CB catalysts maintained a high activity for the oxygen reduction reaction over the course of the durability tests. In addition, the silica-coated Pt/CB prepared from methyltriethoxysilane showed a higher activity than that prepared from tetraethoxysilane. The porous structures and hydrophobicity of silica prepared from methyltriethoxysilane promoted the diffusion of oxygen and water molecules in the silica layers of the silica-coated Pt catalysts.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Fuel Technology
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology