The degradation of Pt electrocatalysts in membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) of polymer electrolyte fuel cells under working conditions is a serious problem for their practical use. Here we report the kinetics and mechanism of redox reactions at the surfaces of Pt/C and Pt3Co/C cathode electrocatalysts during catalyst degradation processes by an accelerated durability test (ADT) studied by operando time-resolved X-ray absorption fine structure (XAFS) spectroscopy. Systematic analysis of a series of Pt LIII-edge time-resolved XAFS spectra measured every 100 ms at different degradation stages revealed changes in the kinetics of Pt redox reactions on Pt/C and Pt3Co/C cathode electrocatalysts. In the case of Pt/C, as the number of ADT cycles increased, structural changes for Pt redox reactions (charging, surface, and subsurface oxidation) became less sensitive because of the agglomeration of catalyst particles. It was found that their rate constants were almost constant independent of the agglomeration of the Pt electrocatalyst. On the other hand, in the case of Pt3Co/C, the rate constants of the redox reactions of the cathode electrocatalyst gradually reduced as the number of ADT cycles increased. The differences in the kinetics for the redox processes would be differences in the degradation mechanism of these cathode electrocatalysts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films