Amorphous Carbon Modified Nano-sized Tungsten Carbide as a Gas Diffusion Electrode Catalyst for the Oxygen Reduction Reaction

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DOI https://doi.org/10.1039/C5RA15394H


Nanostructured tungsten carbide with high surface area and containing amorphous carbon is prepared by a low temperature combustion synthesis method. The nanostructured tungsten carbide is used as the catalyst in a gas diffusion electrode. The obtained WC with different carbon content was investigated by XRD, FESEM, TG-DTA, BET and XPS. When the molar ratio of C/W is 19/3, the WC particles with different carbon content are obtained after a carbonizing process between 900 and 1400 °C, and the content of free carbon in WC also increases gradually with temperature. The carbon content is tested by the high frequency combustion-infrared absorption method in a carbon sulfur analyzer. The electrochemical properties of the tungsten carbide for the oxygen reduction reaction are characterized by its polarization curves and electrochemical impedance. The results show that the presence of the appropriate amorphous carbon is beneficial for improving the conductivity and dispersibility of the tungsten carbide catalyst, and more active centers can be provided by the catalyst.

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RSC Advances, v. 5, p. 70743-70748