A liquid metal electrochemically deposited in CaCl2 or its chloride melts serves as an effective reductant for active metal oxides. Although a very low oxygen concentration can be achieved at a considerably high electrolysis efficiency, the existence of small amount of water impurity in molten chlorides, which is very difficult to detect, causes low electrolysis efficiency. In this study, to clarify the morphological and thermal characteristics of a cathodic electrode in a slightly hygroscopic LiCl-KCl-CaCl2 melt, we simultaneously performed electrochemical measurements and thermal measurements using an ultrafine thermocouple inserted inside a Mo electrode (i.d. 1.57 mm). Concomitantly, changes in the electrode interface were recorded at 500-μs intervals using a synchronized high-speed digital camera. Despite the small amount of water included in the system, the measured heat absorption was much smaller than thermodynamically predicted, which suggested that the generated hydrogen decreased the purity of the liquid alloy electrodeposited on the cathode surface possibly through hydride formation. By using the synchronized thermal measurement, it was possible to trace the change in the electrodeposition pattern of impurity water quickly and sensitively, which was difficult to determine in only the electrochemical potential-current response.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry