, Volume 16, Issue 9, pp 3087-3096
Date: 26 Apr 2012

Smart synthesis of hollow core mesoporous shell carbons (HCMSC) as effective catalyst supports for methanol oxidation and oxygen reduction reactions

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Abstract

The present paper describes an easy and quick synthesis of hollow core mesoporous shell carbon (HCMSC) simply templated from unpretreated solid core mesoporous shell silica using a cheap precursor like sucrose. Physical characterizations showed uniform spherical carbon capsules with a hollow macroporous core of ca. 305- and 55-nm-thick mesoporous shell, forming a well-developed 3-D interconnected bimodal porosity. High specific surface area and large pore volume were also confirmed, suggesting the obtained HCMSC as a promising catalyst support. HCMSC-supported Pt (nominal 20 wt.%) with an average Pt particle size of 1.9 nm was synthesized by wet impregnation, and a signal of strong interaction between carbon support and platinum was confirmed by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. In cyclic voltammetry and linear sweep voltammetry tests, the Pt/HCMSC electrode showed significantly higher electrocatalytic activity for methanol oxidation reaction (MOR) and oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) if compared with commercial Pt/Vulcan catalyst. The durability tests by cyclic voltammetry showed for the Pt/HCMSC a lower electrochemical active surface area loss than the commercial one in acidic solution. All the primary tests suggested that the Pt/HCMSC, due to its particular structure and the high dispersion of noble metal particles, is a promising catalyst for fuel cell applications, for MOR and ORR.