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Title: Elucidating hydrogen oxidation/evolution kinetics in base and acid by enhanced activities at the optimized Pt shell thickness on the Ru core

Hydrogen oxidation and evolution on Pt in acid are facile processes, while in alkaline electrolytes, they are 2 orders of magnitude slower. Thus, developing catalysts that are more active than Pt for these two reactions is important for advancing the performance of anion exchange membrane fuel cells and water electrolyzers. Herein, we detail a 4-fold enhancement of Pt mass activity that we achieved using single-crystalline Ru@Pt core–shell nanoparticles with two-monolayer-thick Pt shells, which doubles the activity on Pt–Ru alloy nanocatalysts. For Pt specific activity, the two- and one-monolayer-thick Pt shells exhibited enhancement factors of 3.1 and 2.3, respectively, compared to the Pt nanocatalysts in base, differing considerably from the values of 1 and 0.4, respectively, in acid. To explain such behavior and the orders of magnitude difference in activity on going from acid to base, we performed kinetic analyses of polarization curves over a wide range of potential from –250 to 250 mV using the dual-pathway kinetic equation. From acid to base, the activation free energies increase the most for the Volmer reaction, resulting in a switch of the rate-determining step from the Tafel to the Volmer reaction, and a shift to a weaker optimal hydrogen binding energy. Furthermore, themore » much higher activation barrier for the Volmer reaction in base than in acid is ascribed to one or both of the two catalyst-insensitive factors: slower transport of OH than H + in water and a stronger O–H bond in water molecules (HO–H) than in hydrated protons (H 2O–H +).« less
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  1. Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 2155-5435; R&D Project: MA510MAEA; KC0302010
Grant/Contract Number:
SC00112704; SC0012704
Published Article
Journal Name:
ACS Catalysis
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 5; Journal Issue: 11; Journal ID: ISSN 2155-5435
American Chemical Society
Research Org:
Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; HOR; HER; alkaline fuel cells; water electrolysis; Ru@Pt core−shell
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1235883