Effect of catalyst carbon supports on the oxygen reduction reaction in alkaline media: a comparative study

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Some carbon materials commonly used as electronically-conductive supports for catalysts in fuel cell research are Carbon Black (CB), multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT), Graphene Oxide (GO) and reduced graphene oxide (rGO). Here we present a comparative study into the relative effects of each of these on the performance towards the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in alkaline media. For the purposes of comparing the supports, a simple Pt catalyst is used and the performance is evaluated via Koutecky–Levich analysis and direct measurement of peroxide by rotating ring-disk electrode (RRDE) to determine the number of electrons (n) transferred in the ORR. It is found that Pt/CB follows a quasi 4-electron mechanism due to that the ORR takes place mainly on the active Pt particles, whereas Pt/MWCNT, Pt/GO and Pt/rGO exhibit a mixed behaviour between the two proposed mechanisms due to the higher activity of the graphene-derived supports towards the peroxide formation compared to CB. The effect of the oxide groups of GO and the metal impurities of MWCNT on the catalytic performance is also studied.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94669-94681
JournalRSC Advances
Issue number97
Early online date30 Sep 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016