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A highly active electrocatalytic electrode for nitrate reduction was prepared by the electro-deposition of palladium onto a copper electrode. The capacity of nitrate reduction by a palladium-modified copper electrode has been studied using cyclic voltammetry (CV). The existence of a
reduction peak at −0.605 V versus saturated calomel electrode in 0.1-M sodium nitrate + 0.1-M perchloric acid solution (pH = 0.86) can be found in the CV measurement. The influence of solution properties, such as pH, nitrate concentration, and other anions in solution, on
nitrate reduction was determined in detail. Results showed that nitrate reduction was suppressed in alkaline solution, while it was beneficial to nitrate reduction in acid or neutral solution. At low nitrate concentrations (0.01 to 0.5 M), nitrate reduction current increased with increasing
nitrate concentration, but was hindered by sulfate. At high nitrate concentrations (1 to 5 M), no significant difference on nitrate reduction was observed. Compared with other different electrodes prepared in our work (copper, titanium, and palladium-modified titanium electrodes), the palladium-modified
copper electrode showed the highest electrocatalytic capacity and stability in the nitrate-reduction process.
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