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Surface stress during electro-oxidation of carbon monoxide and bulk stress evolution during electrochemical intercalation of lithium

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This work investigates in-situ stress evolution of interfacial and bulk processes in electrochemical systems, and is divided into two projects. The first project examines the electrocapillarity of clean and CO-covered

This work investigates in-situ stress evolution of interfacial and bulk processes in electrochemical systems, and is divided into two projects. The first project examines the electrocapillarity of clean and CO-covered electrodes. It also investigates surface stress evolution during electro-oxidation of CO at Pt{111}, Ru/Pt{111} and Ru{0001} electrodes. The second project explores the evolution of bulk stress that occurs during intercalation (extraction) of lithium (Li) and formation of a solid electrolyte interphase during electrochemical reduction (oxidation) of Li at graphitic electrodes. Electrocapillarity measurements have shown that hydrogen and hydroxide adsorption are compressive on Pt{111}, Ru/Pt{111}, and Ru{0001}. The adsorption-induced surface stresses correlate strongly with adsorption charge. Electrocatalytic oxidation of CO on Pt{111} and Ru/Pt{111} gives a tensile surface stress. A numerical method was developed to separate both current and stress into background and active components. Applying this model to the CO oxidation signal on Ru{0001} gives a tensile surface stress and elucidates the rate limiting steps on all three electrodes. The enhanced catalysis of Ru/Pt{111} is confirmed to be bi-functional in nature: Ru provides adsorbed hydroxide to Pt allowing for rapid CO oxidation. The majority of Li-ion batteries have anodes consisting of graphite particles with polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) as binder. Intercalation of Li into graphite occurs in stages and produces anisotropic strains. As batteries have a fixed size and shape these strains are converted into mechanical stresses. Conventionally staging phenomena has been observed with X-ray diffraction and collaborated electrochemically with the potential. Work herein shows that staging is also clearly observed in stress. The Li staging potentials as measured by differential chronopotentiometry and stress are nearly identical. Relative peak heights of Li staging, as measured by these two techniques, are similar during reduction, but differ during oxidation due to non-linear stress relaxation phenomena. This stress relaxation appears to be due to homogenization of Li within graphite particles rather than viscous flow of the binder. The first Li reduction wave occurs simultaneously with formation of a passivating layer known as the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI). Preliminary experiments have shown the stress of SEI formation to be tensile (~+1.5 MPa).

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  • 2011

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Effects of extrinsic and intrinsic proton activity on the mechanism of oxygen reduction in ionic liquids

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Mechanisms for oxygen reduction are proposed for three distinct cases covering two ionic liquids of fundamentally different archetypes and almost thirty orders of magnitude of proton activity. Proton activity is

Mechanisms for oxygen reduction are proposed for three distinct cases covering two ionic liquids of fundamentally different archetypes and almost thirty orders of magnitude of proton activity. Proton activity is treated both extrinsically by varying the concentration and intrinsically by selecting proton donors with a wide range of aqueous pKa values. The mechanism of oxygen reduction in ionic liquids is introduced by way of the protic ionic liquid (pIL) triethylammonium triflate (TEATf) which shares some similarities with aqueous acid solutions. Oxygen reduction in TEATf begins as the one electron rate limited step to form superoxide, O2*-, which is then rapidly protonated by the pIL cation forming the perhydroxyl radical, HO2*. The perhydroxyl radical is further reduced to peroxidate (HO2-) and hydrogen peroxide in proportions in accordance with their pKa. The reaction does not proceed beyond this point due to the adsorption of the conjugate base triethylammine interfering with the disproportionation of hydrogen peroxide. This work demonstrates that this mechanism is consistent across Pt, Au, Pd, and Ag electrodes. Two related sets of experiments were performed in the inherently aprotic ionic liquid 1-butyl-2,3-dimethylimidazolium triflate (C4dMImTf). The first involved the titration of acidic species of varying aqueous pKa into the IL while monitoring the extent of oxygen reduction as a function of pKa and potential on Pt and glassy carbon (GC) electrodes. These experiments confirmed the greater propensity of Pt to reduce oxygen by its immediate and abrupt transition from one electron reduction to four electron reduction, while oxygen reduction on GC gradually approaches four electron reduction as the potentials were driven more cathodic. The potential at which oxygen reduction initiates shows general agreement with the Nernst equation and the acid's tabulated aqueous pKa value, however at the extremely acidic end, a small deviation is observed. The second set of experiments in C4dMImTf solicited water as the proton donor for oxygen reduction in an approximation of the aqueous alkaline case. The water content was varied between extremely dry (<0.1 mol% H2O) and saturated (approximately 15.8 mol% H2O}). As the water content increased so too did the extent of oxygen reduction eventually approach two electrons on both Pt and GC. However, additional water led to a linear increase in the Tafel slope under enhanced mass transport conditions up to the point of 10 mol% water. This inhibition of oxygen adsorption is the result of the interaction between superoxide and water and more specifically is proposed to be associated with decomposition of theC4dMIm+ cation by hydroxide at the elevated temperatures required for the experiment. Oxygen reduction on both Pt and GC follows Nernstian behavior as the water content is increased. Separate mechanisms for oxygen reduction on Pt and GC are proposed based on the nature of the Nernstian response in these systems.

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  • 2011