In-situ activated hydrogen evolution by molybdate addition to neutral and alkaline electrolytes
Activation of the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) by in-situ addition of Mo(VI) to the electrolyte has been studied in alkaline and pH neutral electrolytes, the latter with the chlorate process in focus. Catalytic molybdenum containing films formed on the cathodes during polarization were investigated using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy-dispersive X‑ray analysis (EDS), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and X‑ray fluorescence (XRF). In-situ addition of Mo(VI) activates the HER on titanium in both alkaline and neutral electrolytes and makes the reaction kinetics independent of the substrate material. Films formed in neutral electrolyte consisted of molybdenum oxides and contained more molybdenum than those formed in alkaline solution. Films formed in neutral electrolyte in the presence of phosphate buffer activated the HER, but were too thin to be detected by EDS. Since molybdenum oxides are generally not stable in strongly alkaline electrolyte, films formed in alkaline electrolyte were thinner and probably co-deposited with iron. A cast iron‑molybdenum alloy was also investigated with respect to activity for HER. When polished in the same way as iron, the alloy displayed a similar activity for HER as pure iron.
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