Etude de la promotion électrochimique de l'oxydation catalytique de l'éthylène sur des oxydes métalliques

The electrochemical promotion of heterogeneous catalytic reactions is a new development which draws the attention of the scientific community as much to fundamental research as to the possible direct applications of this phenomenon in automotive and in industrial catalysis. We have chosen to study the electrochemical promotion of the complete ethylene oxidation on metallic oxides catalysts. The principal oxides which we used has been the iridium oxide (IrO2) and iridium and titanium oxide mixtures (IrO2+TiO2), deposited on yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ). We have proved that the electrochemical promotion of ethylene combustion can be applied to these catalysts. Contrary to what was established before, we have demonstrated a certain persistence of activation of the reaction. mainly on the iridium oxide, after the end of polarization. The persistent reaction rate enhancement ratio is a function of the passed electric charge and levels off at a value of approximately 3. The other experimental significant fact for heterogeneous catalysis which has been discovered is the relation between chemical promotion and electrochemical promotion. Applying electrochemical promotion to a IrO2 + TiO2 composite catalyst, the two kinds of promotions have been confronted, since a IrO2 + TiO2 composite catalyst presents a chemical promotion, more precisely a synergy between the two components of the catalyst. The maximal amplitude of the electrochemical promotion of such catalysts has been demonstrated to be strongly reduced in comparison with the one of pure catalysts. As the maximal enhancement factor of the catalytic reaction rate was 12 for pure iridium oxide catalyst, the same factor dropped to less than 2 for a IrO2 + TiO2 composite catalyst. This result has enabled us to affirm that the mechanisms of chemical promotion and electrochemical promotion should involve a common type of surface activating species : a mobile surface spillover oxygen species. The catalyst work function on-line measurement with a Kelvin probe has enabled us to link the reaction rate with the work function change and to link the applied potential with the work function change, for al1 the phases of a transient polarisation experiment. The persistent activation of the catalyst after the end of a polarization has been linked to a persistent change in the work function. A major trend of this research consists in cyclic voltammetry. It is certainly one of the most powerful medium to extract experimental facts which have been useful to understand the electrochemical promotion principles. Due to the small amplitude of the potential which has been used in cyclic voltammetric experiments, the electrolyte-catalyst interface wasn't practically affected by these in situ measurements. By analogy to voltammetric charge formation mechanism in aqueous electrochemistry, we have taken the following chemical capacitance as responsible for the voltammetric charge in our system: IrO2 + δO- ⇄ IrO2+δ + δe- According to this mechanism, the reaction between O- and IrO2 can only occur at the interface between solid electrolyte and catalyst, where contact between the two species exists. In Our system, voltammetric charge has been demonstrated to be proportional to the thickness of the catalyst, proving by this way that the whole surface of the catalyst is in contact with the O- activating species coming from the solid electrolyte. So the implication of a spillover oxygen species during electrochemical promotion has been demonstrated by the way of cyclic voltammetry. The existence of this spillover oxygen species has been also directly proved by thermal desorption experiments under electrochemical promotion conditions. By considering the strong change in the decomposition temperature of the oxide induced by its polarisation, the thermal desorption technique has been used to display the influence of the polarization on the structure of the oxide catalyst itself.

Comninellis, Christos
Lausanne, EPFL

 Record created 2005-03-16, last modified 2018-01-27

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