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Title: Titanium Nitride-Based Electrode Materials For Oxidation Of Small Molecules : Applications In Electrochemical Energy Systems
Authors: Musthafa, O T Muhammed
Advisors: Sampath, Srinivasan
Keywords: Electrodes (Chemistry)
Titanium Nitride Electrodes
Titanium Nitrides - Electrochemical Anodization
Molecules - Oxidation
Methanol Oxidation
Ethanol Oxidation
Borohydride Oxidation
Fuel Cells
Borohydride Fuel Cells
Alcohol Oxidation
Fuel Cell Catalysts
Submitted Date: Aug-2010
Series/Report no.: G24445
Abstract: Synopsis of the thesis entitled “Titanium Nitride-Based Electrode Materials for Oxidation of Small Molecules: Applications in Electrochemical Energy Systems” submitted by Muhammed Musthafa O. T under the supervision of Prof. S. Sampath at the Department of Inorganic and Physical Chemistry of the Indian Institute of Science for the Ph.D degree in the faculty of science. Fuel cells have been the focus of interest for many decades because of the ever increasing demands in energy. Towards this direction, there have been considerable efforts to find efficient electrocatalysts to oxidize small organic molecules (SOMs) such as methanol, ethanol, glycerol, hydrazine and borohydride that are of potential interest in direct fuel cells. Most studies revolve around platinum which is the best electrocatalyst known for the oxidation of many SOMs. However, platinum is extremely susceptible to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning which is an intermediate in the electrooxidation of aliphatic alcohols. The best known catalyst, platinum-ruthenium alloy (PtRu), suffers from leaching of Ru during cycling resulting in decrease in efficiency in addition to loss of precious metal. Another important aspect of fuel cell catalyst degradation is corrosion of widely-used carbon support, under fuel cell conditions. Corrosion of carbon support weakens the adherence of catalyst particles on the support and in turn results in loss of catalyst and also in its easy oxidation. Carbon corrosion is also reported to decrease the electronic continuity of the catalyst layer. Hence, replacement of carbon support with durable material is required. The present research explores the use of non-carbonaceous, transition metal nitride for anchoring catalytic particles. The favorable physicochemical properties of titanium nitride (TiN) such as extreme hardness, excellent corrosion resistance in aggressive electrolytes, resistance to nearly all chemicals, salt and humidity, very good support for the adherence of fuel cell catalysts and excellent electronic conductivity motivated us to use this material for anchoring fuel cell catalysts such as Pt, PtRu and Pd. In the present studies, TiN coated on stainless steel (SS 304) surface is used as an electrode material. Catalysts such as Pt, Pd and PtRu are anchored on to TiN and used for the oxidation of methanol and ethanol in acidic as well as in alkaline media. Use of bare TiN is explored for the oxidation of sodium borohydride. The efficiency of TiN supported catalysts are compared with carbon supported ones. Preliminary studies on the use of TiN supported catalysts in fuel cells have been conducted as well. Figure 1 shows the topographic atomic force microscopic (AFM) image in combination with scanning Kelvin probe (SKP) image of platinized TiN (Pt-TiN) surface. Since Pt particles are metallic, they are expected to show lower work function values than that of TiN domains which is indeed observed in figure 1B where the location of Pt particles is shown as dip in the work function. Very interestingly, the interface of Pt-TiN possesses very different work function values confirming the existence of metal-support interaction and this is expected to have positive implications in fuel cell catalysis. Figure 1. Contact mode AFM (A) and the corresponding scanning Kelvin probe image (B) of Pt-TiN surface. Figure 2. Cyclic voltammograms of Pt-TiN and Pt-C electrodes in 0.5 M H2SO4 containing 0.5 M methanol at a scan rate of 10 mV/s. Loading of the catalyst used is 1 mg of Pt/cm2. The performance of Pt-TiN and PtRu-TiN are compared with the corresponding carbon supported catalysts (Pt-C, PtRu-C) for the electrooxidation of methanol. Figure 2 shows the voltammograms obtained on Pt-TiN and Pt-C in presence of acidified methanol. TiN supported catalyst performs better than carbon supported catalyst in terms of high currents at low over voltages (based on I-t measurements), long term stability and high exchange current densities (based on Tafel studies). The electrochemical characteristics of methanol oxidation on Pt-TiN and Pt-C catalysts are given in table 1. The current densities observed on TiN supported catalyst are almost three times higher than that of carbon supported catalyst confirming the promoting effect of TiN support towards methanol oxidation reaction. The performance of Pt-TiN electrocatalyst under fuel cell conditions reveals peak power densities close to 396 mW/cm2 at a current density of 375 mA/cm2, at 90C. Table 1. Characteristics of methanol oxidation on TiN and carbon supported catalysts in acidic medium. Material Onset Ep (mV) Ip EAA Ip Ip/Ib E=Ep-Eb potential (mA/mg (cm2/mg)b (mA/cm2 (mV) of Pt)a of Pt)c (mV) Pt-TiN 170 720 56 78.4 0.714 1.24 82 Pt-C 250 700 18 68.6 0.262 0.98 106 a Mass activity; Ip is the forward peak current and Ib is the reverse peak current; Ep and Eb are forward and reverse peak potentials. b Electrochemically active area (EAA) c Current density normalized for EAA Figure 3. In-situ FTIR spectra on bare TiN surface as a function of applied DC bias vs.SCE. The spectra are shown in regions of 1000 to 2000 cm-1 (A) and 2500 to 4000 cm-1 (B). Electrolyte used is 0.5 M methanol in 0.5 M H2SO4. Reference spectrum is obtained at 0 V. In-situ FTIR spectroelectrochemical measurements have been carried out to understand the intermediates and products formed during methanol oxidation. TiN surface is highly reflective and is quite amenable for reflectance IR studies. Figure 3 shows the potential dependant spectral characteristics of TiN in methanolic sulphuric acid. The bands observed at 1600 and 3600 cm-1 correspond to –OH bending and stretching vibrations of adsorbed water molecules. Interestingly, bands corresponding to adsorbed water are observed even at remarkably low over potentials of around 0.1 V vs. SCE where CO poisoning of Pt can be very severe. This experiment confirms the ability of inexpensive TiN to function like expensive Ru in fuel cell catalysis. Similar studies have been carried out for ethanol electrooxidation on TiN supported catalysts such as Pd, Pt and PtRu in acidic as well as alkaline conditions. Adherence of fuel cell catalyst on to TiN and carbon support is followed by cycling the electrode potential continuously as shown in figure 4. The adherence of Pd on TiN surface is very good and the stability tests reveal that Pd adheres and remains on TiN for a long time as compared to carbon support. Figure 4. Cyclic voltammograms of Pd-C (A) and Pd-TiN (B) in 1 M KOH at 100 mV/s. Pd loading used is 83 µg/cm2. In the chapter on borohydride oxidation, bare TiN electrode is used for the electrochemical oxidation of sodium borohydride. In direct borohydride fuel cells (DBFC), H2 evolution that occurs at low over voltages decreases the apparent number of electrons transferred and consequently the fuel cell efficiency. TiN has been shown to be a relatively H2 evolution-free electrocatalyst for borohydride oxidation (figure 5A). As shown in figure 5A, no H2 oxidation is observed (below -0.5 V) on TiN surface with increase in concentration of borohydride. This point to the fact that direct oxidation of borohydride is very favourable on TiN electrode and is confirmed by fuel cell measurements as shown in figure 5B. Non-platinum DBFCs using TiN as the anode (borohydride oxidation) and prussian blue supported carbon (PB-C) as the cathode (oxygen or hydrogen peroxide) electrocatalysts (figure 5B) reveal peak power density of 107 mW/cm2 for a current density 130 mA/cm2, at 80C. Figure 5. Cyclic voltammograms of TiN in 1 M NaOH containing varying concentrations of borohydride at a scan rate of 20 mV/s (A). Polarization studies of DBFC with TiN anode catalyst and PB-C (prussian blue supported on carbon) cathode catalyst (B). Anolyte is 0.79 M borohydride in 5 M NaOH and catholyte is 2.2 M acidified H2O2. The second aspect of the thesis is related to the use of TiN to prepare visible light active, nitrogen doped TiO2 (N-TiO2). This is carried out by electrochemical anodization of TiN in 0.5 M HNO3 at 1.4 V. The X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) suggests the formation of oxide phase on anodized TiN surface (figure 6A) and is confirmed by reflectance UV-Visible spectroscopy. The visible light activity is used for the sunlight induced reduction of graphene oxide to reduced graphene oxide. As shown in the Raman spectra (figure 6B), a negative shift of the D and G band positions by about 20 cm-1 and the intensity ratio reversal after reduction confirms the formation of reduced graphene oxide on N-TiO2. Figure 6. (A) Ti (2p) region of XPS of fresh TiN and anodized TiN. Anodization has been carried out at 1.4 V vs. SCE in 0.5 M HNO3. (B) Raman spectra of exfoliated graphene oxide on anodized TiN before and after sunlight induced reduction. In summary, TiN has been shown to be an active support material for fuel cell catalysts in the present studies. The appendix details the basic electrochemical studies on TiN using various redox couples, electroploymerization of aniline and the formation of nanostructures on TiN surface. (For figures pl refer the abstract pdf file)
Abstract file URL: http://etd.ncsi.iisc.ernet.in/abstracts/2836/G24445-Abs.pdf
URI: http://etd.iisc.ernet.in/handle/2005/2223
Appears in Collections:Inorganic and Physical Chemistry (ipc)

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