Carbon corrosion properties and performance of multi-walled carbon nanotube support with and without nitrogen-functionalization in fuel cell electrodes

Petri Kanninen, Björn Eriksson, Fatemeh Davodi, Marthe Emelie Melandsø Buan, Olli Sorsa, Tanja Kallio, Rakel Wreland Lindström*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Pt-supported on multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) and N-modified MWCNT (N-MWCNT) catalysts are synthesized by pyrolysis from emeraldine solution and microemulsion. Their electrochemical properties and carbon corrosion resistance in a Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) are compared with a commercial Pt/Vulcan catalyst through I–V curves, cyclic voltammetry and CO stripping. The initial fuel cell performances of the Pt/(N-)MWCNT catalysts are superior to Pt/Vulcan. The corrosion of the catalysts is quantified by the continuous measure of the CO2 release by online-mass spectrometry during potentiodynamic cycling between 0.1 and 1.6 V at 80 °C. The results show that Pt/MWCNT (with the lowest double-layer capacity) is the most stable catalyst followed by Pt/N-MWCNT and Pt/Vulcan, initially losing carbon at a rate of 1.1, 3.4 and 4.7 μgC (mg Ctot)−1 cycle−1, respectively. After about 30% carbon loss (50–70 cycles) all catalysts corrode at an approximate rate of 5.5 μgC mg−1 cycle−1. At this stage, all show similar electrochemical surface area and double-layer capacity. However, the substantial diminution of the initially very thick and porous Pt/(N-)MWCNT catalyst layers after corrosion consequences in lower fuel cell performance compared to the structurally less affected Pt/Vulcan electrode. The results clearly reveal that CNT-based catalyst supports are more corrosion resistant compared to state-of-the-art Vulcan. Moreover, the performance of the corroded electrodes envisages the importance of electrode porosity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number135384
JournalElectrochimica Acta
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Carbon corrosion
  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Oxygen reduction

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  • Projects

    Closing the Loop for High-added-value Materials

    Lahtinen, K., Kallio, T. & Revitzer, H.


    Project: Academy of Finland: Strategic research funding

    Sustainable platinum group metal free catalyst materials

    Sorsa, O., Kallio, T., Rauhala, T. & Davodi, F.


    Project: Academy of Finland: Other research funding

    Rational design of non-noble metal (electro)catalyst materials for energy conversion applications

    Kallio, T., Lahtinen, K., Davodi, F. & Mehrabimatin, B.


    Project: Academy of Finland: Other research funding



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    Aalto University

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