Effect of Potential on Dissolution of Pt-Fe Alloys Studied By Channel Flow Multi Electrode

Tuesday, October 13, 2015
West Hall 1 (Phoenix Convention Center)
A. Ooi (Mater. & Sci., Tokyo Institute of Techonology), E. Tada (Tokyo Institute of Technology), and A. Nishikata (Tokyo Institute of Technology)

Core/shell structure Pt-M alloys catalysts are anticipated to be applied in PEMFCs cathode catalyst layer owing to their high catalytic activity than pure Pt [1]. However, dissolution of Pt and M is a significant problem, which causes the performance loss of PEMFCs [2], when the potential loads such as on-off cycle and load cycle were applied to the cathode catalysts. Therefore, understanding the detailed dissolution mechanism of Pt and M from Pt–M alloy catalysts is very important to improve durability of PEMFCs under its operating conditions. In this study, we investigated that the dissolution behavior of Pt-50 at% Fe alloy (Pt50-Fe50) under potential cycling with channel flow multi electrodes (CFME), and clarify the effect of potential range to the dissolution behavior of Pt50-Fe50.


Pt50-Fe50 (1 mm x 5 mm) used as working electrode (WE), and two Au plates (1 mm x 2 mm) were used as collector electrodes (CEs). These electrodes were embedded into CFME cell by epoxy resin, and kept in parallel. The gap distance between WE and CEs was 100 μm, and the gap between two CEs was 1 mm.

Potential cycling tests were employed at 298 K using Ar-purged 0.5 M H2SO4 solution. A double junction KCl-saturated Ag / Ag-Cl electrode was used as reference electrode, and Au coil was used as the counter electrode. In order to satisfy laminar flow condition, flow rate of the test solution was 10 cm s-1. In potential cycling tests, lower potential limit set at 0.05 V vs. SHE, and upper potential limit (Eupper) varied from 0.6 to 1.4 V vs. SHE, and scan rate was 20 mV s-1. Before the potential cycling tests, the W.E. was kept at 0.45 V vs. SHE in order to eliminate Pt-oxide layer formed on alloy surface in ambient air. A reaction and potential for detecting the dissolved Fe2+ on Au-CE is as follows,

Fe2+→Fe3++e-  (Ec = 1.0 V vs. SHE)           (1)

Dissolved Fe2+ from Pt50-Fe50 are monitored by the current of the CE.

Results and discussion

 Fig. 1 shows Fe2+detection current (iFe(II)) change in anodic scan during potential cycling, and black, red, and blue lines represent results of Eupper = 1.4 V, 1.0 V, and 0.6 V, respectively. In case of Eupper = 1.4 V, Fe2+ detection peak was observed between 0.3 – 0.7 V. Similarly, Fe2+ detection peak was appeared in same region when Eupper set at 1.0 V, however, the peak height was much smaller compared with the peak observed when Eupper =1.4 V. From these results, Fe dissolution as Fe2+ was not suppressed during potential cycling when Eupper was 1.0 and 1.4 V. On the contrary, iFe(II) kept constant value between 0.05 – 0.6 V when Eupper set at 0.6 V, and it means that Fe dissolution as Fe2+ was suppressed during potential cycling. The similar trend was observed in the cathodic scan.

 The dissolution behavior of Pt50-Fe50 strongly depended on Eupper of potential cycling. This may be attributed to the structure of Pt-enriched layer formed on alloy surface. In case of Eupper = 0.6 V, potential cycling doesn’t induce Pt dissolution [3], thus dense Pt-enriched layer formed on alloy surface and Fe dissolution is suppressed by Pt-enriched layer. While, in case of higher Eupper like 1.0 and 1.4 V, Pt-enriched layer seems to be less effective.