Faculté des sciences et techniques de l'ingénieur STI, Programme doctoral Systèmes de production et Robotique, Institut des sciences et ingénierie chimiques ISIC (Groupe de génie électrochimique GGEC)

Effectiveness factor of thin-layer IrO2 electrocatalyst : influence of catayst loading and electrode kinetics

Herrera Calderon, Erika ; Comninellis, Christos (Dir.) ; Wüthrich, Rolf (Dir.)

Thèse Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne EPFL : 2008 ; no 4181.

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    Dimensionally Stable Anodes (DSA®) are electrodes composed of a metal support and an oxide coating (catalyst). Particularly in this thesis, the Ti/IrO2 electrode was used for the study of the fraction of the surface which participates effectively in the investigated reactions (effectiveness factor, Ef ). Four reactions with different kinetics have been investigated: (a) Fe3+/Fe2+ (fast reaction), (b) O2 and (c) Cl2 evolutions (slow reactions), and (d) isopropanol oxidation (complex reaction involving redox catalysis). This study has allowed us to apply for the first time in electrocatalysis the term, effectiveness factor, Ef , used before in other fields like in heavy metals recovery with 3D electrodes and in heterogeneous catalysis. On the other hand, in order to achieve the main objective of this thesis, an analytical and a qualitative approach was proposed. Furthermore, the Ti/IrO2 electrodes were characterized electrochemically using the cyclic voltammetry (CV) technique in which the voltammetric charge was measured at different potential scan rates, potential windows, and electrolyte temperatures using various Ti/IrO2 loadings. From the voltammetric charge, two contributions were found. The first contribution is related to the double layer capacitance and the second with the redox couples present on the electrode surface. The first reaction investigated in this work was the Fe3+/Fe2+ redox couple. In the first part of the investigation of this reaction, the CV technique was used; however, some issues related to the uncompensated electrolyte resistance were encountered. Therefore the effectiveness factor for this particular case was not possible to obtain. On the other hand, using rotating Ti/IrO2 disk electrodes (RDE) for the same reaction, the effectiveness factor, Ef , has been estimated, however, this value is much lower than the predicted one. The other investigated reactions in this work were O2 and Cl2 evolutions. The investigated kinetics of both reactions showed that the evolution of chlorine is much faster than that of oxygen. The effectiveness factor, Ef , for the oxygen evolution was close to the unity for all IrO2 loadings, contrary to the chlorine reaction that decreased with the loading. This behaviour was predicted according to what is given in the analytical approach. The last reaction investigated in this work was the oxidation of isopropanol. In this case a model was proposed based on three main reactions: Electrochemical IrO2 oxidation to IrO3, chemical oxidation of isopropanol via IrO3, and chemical decomposition of IrO3 to IrO2. The effectiveness factor, for the electrochemical reaction seemed not to correlate with the loading, whereas for the chemical one, it diminished with the loading.