(Physical and Analytical Electrochemistry Division David S. Grahame Award Address) Nanoscale Templates and Scaffolds for Electrochemical Device Applications

Tuesday, 30 May 2017: 14:10
Grand Salon D - Section 19 (Hilton New Orleans Riverside)
V. Birss (Department of Chemistry, University of Calgary)
This talk will review some of our recent fuel cell-related research efforts, which have had a primary focus on increasing the lifetime and performance of both anode and cathode catalyst layers. In our recent work on PEM fuel cells, a new class of ordered, mesoporous carbon materials (both powders and free-standing scaffolds), with nano-engineered pore diameters and lengths, have been developed as support materials to better distribute and stabilize catalytic nanoparticles that are attached to their surface. These carbons have also been surface modified with a range of functional groups, showing that this can significantly alter their wettability, enhance their resistance to corrosion, better anchor catalytic nanoparticles, and are also beneficial in redox flow battery electrochemistry. These reproducibly ordered carbon scaffolds are also proving to be ideal for the investigation of the interactions of Nafion with Pt/carbon in relation to performance, especially as a function of carbon pore diameter, depth and surface hydrophilicity.

In parallel research related to catalyst supports, we have constructed ordered metal oxide nanotubular arrays, then converting them to conducting oxy-nitride forms, primarily to replace carbon. These metal oxy-nitrides undergo interesting redox transitions that will be shown to correlate with the activity of these materials (after deposition of Pt nanoparticles) towards the oxygen reduction reaction. Ordered surface arrays of Zr oxide nanotubes are also very promising for use in novel, nano-structured, high temperature solid oxide fuel cells.