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metal based catalysts

Research Progress on Three-Dimensional Self-Supported Electrocatalytic Materials for Water Electrolysis.

In recent years, a large number of researchers have been devoted to the development of non-precious metal electrocatalytic water splitting nano-catalysts in the field of electrocatalytic water splitting. Transition metal compounds, which have the advantages of high crustal abundance, low cost, diverse compounds, and easy preparation, have long been considered as potential alternatives to precious metal catalysts. Common catalysts can be mainly divided into two types: powder-type catalysts and self-supported catalysts.

Copper Foam
Copper Foam

Compared with traditional powder-type electrocatalysts, self-supported electrodes grown in situ on substrates are more ideal. The in-situ growth of catalysts on substrates avoids the addition of organic binders and conductive agents, simplifies the coating process of working electrodes, and reduces the cost of sample preparation. The self-supported substrate material can increase the loading capacity of active components, thereby providing abundant catalytic sites. Currently, most reported substrates for self-supported electrodes can be divided into two categories: one is traditional conductive substrates, such as metal substrates (metal foams, metal foils, and metal meshes) and carbon substrates (carbon cloth, carbon paper, graphene paper); the other is unconventional non-conductive substrates, such as textiles and cellulose paper.

The use of self-supported electrodes has shown great potential in electrocatalytic water splitting. The unique advantages of self-supported electrodes, such as simplified preparation process, reduced cost, and increased catalytic activity, make them attractive for practical applications in the field of electrocatalysis. Further research and development of self-supported catalysts will contribute to the advancement of electrocatalytic water splitting technology and the realization of sustainable energy conversion.

Metal based materials

Metal based materials mainly include metal foam, stainless steel plate, metal mesh, and metal foil, among which metal foam substrate has a porous structure that allows for rapid transport of electrolytes and timely release of generated bubbles. Iron is one of the most abundant elements on Earth, and using iron foam (IF) as the starting material has the advantages of low cost and high commercial benefits. Therefore, electrocatalysts based on iron foam have become widely studied by researchers.

Copper Foam 1 (8)

FeS microplates and NiFe(OH)x nanosheets were grown in situ on a foam iron substrate, resulting in an electrode with enhanced mechanical stability during intense gas evolution and rapid gas release achieved by the 3D hierarchical nano/microplate array structure. The 3D conductive scaffold of highly conductive FeS microplate array not only provides abundant macro-porous structures for efficient electron transfer and mass transport but also offers a high surface area for loading more NiFe(OH)x. A flower-shaped self-supported catalytic material composed of porous nickel-iron (oxy)hydroxide nanosheets was prepared on the foam iron, and the effect of this unique nanostructure on the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) performance was investigated. The hierarchical nanostructure of nickel-iron (oxy)hydroxide possesses a larger specific surface area, exposing more active sites. Moreover, this unique structure endows the material with superhydrophobic and superhydrophilic surfaces, facilitating electrolyte diffusion and rapid bubble release. Furthermore, electrochemical transformation occurs during the OER process, introducing catalytically active metal hydroxide species, further enhancing the catalytic performance of OER. The electrochemical performance test results demonstrate that the prepared electrode exhibits long-term stability and high Faradaic efficiency at large current densities of 100 and 500 mA cm-2 in a 1.0 M KOH solution.

In terms of practical applications, self-supported NiFe-based materials are among the popular candidates for OER (oxygen evolution reaction) materials, which has sparked extensive research on performance modification and mechanism exploration. Focusing on the practical application of foam iron as the research object, the evolution of relevant morphology and composition was closely monitored under near-industrial conditions (6 MKOH, 40/80℃, 300 mA·cm-2). It was found that the LSV (linear sweep voltammetry) curves of IF-40-t and IF-80-t also exhibited extremum values with the continuous generation of FeOOH (activated under a constant current density of 300 mA cm-2). Furthermore, the research group also conducted in-depth analysis of the influence of morphology and material transport on OER activity. Based on the trend of current density and double-layer capacitance variation, it was demonstrated that electron and material transport play an important role in the oxygen evolution process.

Copper Foam 1 (7)

The synthesis of highly efficient electrocatalysts through a simple and convenient method is an urgent issue for carbon neutral economy. In this regard, alkaline seawater electrolysis with high current density is considered ideal. In this study, a novel catalyst called RuNi-Fe2O3/IF with ultra-low content of Ru and Ni co-doping, was successfully synthesized on foam iron using a one-step hydrothermal method. By adjusting the ratio of Ru to Ni, the RuNi-Fe2O3/IF material with a perfect lily flower shape was obtained. Due to the chemical substitution of Ru and Ni, the synthesized RuNi-Fe2O3/IF catalyst exhibited dual functionality and could be used for both the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) and the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) in 1.0 M KOH electrolyte. The HER and OER processes required overpotentials of 75 mV and 329 mV, respectively, to drive a current density of 100 mA cm-2. Furthermore, the electrode demonstrated excellent long-term durability, maintaining a current density of 100 mA cm-2 for 20 hours, which is comparable to a dual-electrode system composed of precious metal catalysts.

Picture of Lu


Our materials research team from Tsinghua University postdoctoral researcher lin and Harbin Institute of Technology researcher Mu, Nanjing University of Technology researcher Wei, they share their expertise in foam metal materials article.

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WE were established in 2003, located in the Gaoxin Zone of Guangdong-Guangxi Cooperation Special Experimental Zone, covering an area of 70 mu, with a plant of about 30,000 square meters, with more than 170 employees, is an advanced new material technology enterprise integrating research and development, production and sales.

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