Electrochemical Investigation of the Hydrogen Evolution Reaction on Electrodeposited Films of Cr(OH) 3 and Cr 2 O 3 in Mild Alkaline Solutions
The hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) from water reduction is the main cathodic reaction in the sodium chlorate process. The reaction typically takes place on electrodes covered with a Cr(III) oxide-like film formed in situ by reduction of sodium dichromate in order to avoid reduction of hypochlorite and thereby increase the selectivity for the HER. However, the chemical structure of the Cr(III) oxide-like film is still under debate. In the present work, the kinetics of the HER were studied using titanium electrodes covered with electrodeposited Cr(OH)3 or Cr2O3, which were characterized by means of scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDX), x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and Raman spectroscopy. A clear difference in the morphology of the deposited surfaces was obtained, and the structure could be revealed with Raman spectroscopy. The kinetics for the HER were investigated using potentiodynamic and potentiostatic techniques. The results show that the first electron transfer is rate limiting and that the activity decreases in the order Cr2O3@Ti > bare Ti > Cr(OH)3@Ti. The low activity obtained for Cr(OH)3@Ti is discussed in terms of the involvement of structural water in the HER and the slow ligand exchange rate for water in Cr(III) complexes, while the high activity obtained for Cr2O3@Ti is rationalized by a surface area effect in combination with reduction of surface water and water in solution.
Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12678-017-0435-1