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Silver montmorillonite conducting polymer composite materials as low-cost oxygen reduction catalysts

Authors:

K.G.C. Senarathna,

Uva Wellassa University, LK
About K.G.C.
Department of Biosystems Technology, Faculty of Technological Studies
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R.M.G. Rajapakse

University of Peradeniya, LK
About R.M.G.

Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

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Abstract

Throughout the globe, researchers are in quest of electro-catalysts for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in order to develop cathode materials for fuel cells (FCs). Although the anodic half-reactions of FCs are fast enough for oxidation of any fuel on cheap catalysts, ORR at the cathode is a slow process even with expensive platinum-based catalysts. Development of low-cost electro-catalysts with reasonably fast kinetics for (ORR) is desirable if fuel cell power is to be utilised in practice. The present study is based on the preparation and characterisation of silver-based electro-catalysts towards oxygen reduction reaction ORR. Simple chemical processes were developed to prepare three different electronically conducting nano-composites. Aniline, pyrrole or 3,4-ethyldioxythiophene (EDOT) in between the layer space of silver [Ag (I)] ion exchanged montmorillonite (MMT) undergoes spontaneous polymerisation. During the polymerisation process, Ag(I) cations are reduced to form metallic silver, while aniline, pyrrole or EDOT monomers are converted to polyaniline (PANI), polypyrrole (PPY) and poly (3,4-ethylenedioxythiphene) (PEDOT), respectively. The prepared composites were extensively characterised by X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), conductivity measurements, AC-impedance and electrochemical analyses. Electrochemical studies showed that composites are good candidates towards ORR in alkaline electrolyte medium. Ag/MMT/PEDOT showed the best performance in catalytic properties. All three composites showed better performances than that of typical Ag/C composites with a similar mass loading of silver. Although the performances of the cheap composites are somewhat lower when compared to commercially available Pt/C, the performance is sufficient to use the materials as cheap alternatives for FC cathodes.

How to Cite: Senarathna, K.G.C. and Rajapakse, R.M.G., 2020. Silver montmorillonite conducting polymer composite materials as low-cost oxygen reduction catalysts. Journal of the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka, 47(4), pp.409–420. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/jnsfsr.v47i4.9687
Published on 25 Jan 2020.
Peer Reviewed

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