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An Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy Study of Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells Electrocatalyst Single Wall Carbon Nanohorns-Supported

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Abstract:

Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) was used to study the polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFC) performance when using single wall carbon nanohorns (SWNH) to support Pt nanoparticles. Additionally, as-prepared and oxidized SWNH Pt-supports were compared with conventional carbon black. Two different oxidizing treatments were considered: oxygen flow at 500 °C and reflux in an acid solution at 85 °C. Both oxidizing treatments increased SWNH surface area; oxygen treatment increased surface area 4 times while acid treatment increased 2.6 times. The increase in surface area should be related to the opening access to the inner tube of SWNH. Acid treatment of SWNH increased chemical fragility and decreased electrocatalyst load in comparison with as-prepared SWNH. On the other hand, the oxygen treated SWNH sample allowed to obtain the highest electrocatalyst load. The use of as-prepared and oxygen treated SWNH showed in both cases catalytic activities 60% higher than using conventional carbon black as electrocatalyst support in PEMFC. Moreover, EIS analysis indicated that the major improvement in performance is related to the cathode kinetics in the as-prepared SWNH sample, while concerning the oxidized SWNH sample, the improvements are related to the electrokinetics in both anode and cathode electrodes. These improvements should be related with differences in the hydrophobic character between SWNH and carbon black.

Keywords: ELECTROCATALYST SUPPORT; ELECTROCHEMICAL IMPEDANCE SPECTROSCOPY; FUEL CELLS; PEMFC; SWNH

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1166/jnn.2011.3466

Publication date: October 1, 2011

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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