KOH-activated multi-walled carbon nanotubes as platinum supports for oxygen reduction reaction
In the present investigation, multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) thermally treated by KOH were adopted as the platinum supporting material for the oxygen reduction reaction electrocatalysts. FTIR and Raman spectra were used to investigate the surface state of MWCNTs treated by KOH at different temperatures (700, 800, and 900 °C) and showed MWCNTs can be successfully functionalized. The structural properties of KOH-activated MWCNTs supported Pt were determined by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and their electrochemical performance was evaluated by the aid of cyclic voltammetry (CV) and rotating disk electrode (RDE) voltammetry. According to the experimental findings of the present work, the surrface of MWCNTs can be successfully functionalized with oxygen-containing groups after activation by KOH, favoring the good dispersion of Pt nanoparticles with narrow size distribution. The as-prepared Pt catalysts supported on KOH treated MWCNTs at higher temperature, possess higher electrochemical surface area and exhibit desirable activity towards oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). More precisely, it has been found that the electrochemical active area of Pt/MWCNTs-900 is approximately two times higher than that of Pt/MWCNTs. It can be concluded that KOH activation is an effective way to decorate MWCNTs' surface with oxygen-containing groups and bigger surface area, which makes them more suitable as electrocatalyst support materials. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.