Pd metal supported on carbon nanotubes (Pd/CNT) for use as a cathode catalyst in polymer electrolyte fuel cells was covered with silica layers a few nanometers thick to improve the durability of the catalyst under severe cathode conditions. The silica-coated Pd/CNT cathode catalyst showed similar activity for the oxygen reduction to Pd/CNT despite coverage of the Pd metal with a silica insulator. In addition, the silica-coated Pd/CNT was highly durable during potential cycling between 0.05 and 1.20 V (vs. reversible hydrogen electrode) in aqueous HClO4 while Pd/CNT suffered serious deactivation under the same conditions. The silica layers in the silica-coated Pd/CNT prevent the diffusion of dissolved Pd species from the Pd metal out of the layers. Therefore, silica-coated Pd/CNT was highly durable under the cathode conditions. Furthermore, coverage of Pd/CNT with silica layers inhibited the two-electron reduction of oxygen to H2O2.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes