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Synthesis and characterization of polypyrrole/carbon composite as a catalyst support for fuel cell applications


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Synthesis and characterization of polypyrrole/carbon

composite as a catalyst support for fuel cell applications

Fulya Memioglu


, Ays‚e Bayrakc¸eken



, Tuba O¨znu¨lu¨er


, Metin Ak


aDepartment of Chemical Engineering, Atatu¨rk University, 25240 Erzurum, Turkey bDepartment of Chemistry, Atatu¨rk University, 25240 Erzurum, Turkey


Department of Chemistry, Pamukkale University, 20017, Denizli, Turkey

a r t i c l e i n f o

Article history:

Received 8 November 2011 Received in revised form 14 February 2012

Accepted 15 February 2012 Available online 13 March 2012 Keywords:

PEM fuel cell

Polypyrrole/carbon composite Carbon corrosion Durability Conducting polymer Electrical conductivity

a b s t r a c t

Polypyrrole (PPy)/Carbon composites were synthesized by in situ chemical oxidative polymerization of pyrrole monomer on carbon black. Effects of polymerization tempera-ture (either 0C or 25C) and different dopants including p-toluenesulfonic acid ( p-TSA) and sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) on the properties of the composites were investigated. The synthesized composites were characterized by XRD, FTIR and TGA. Electrical conductivities of the composites were determined by using four-point probe technique. Electrochemical oxidation characteristics of the synthesized PPy/Carbon composites were investigated by cyclic voltammetry via potential holding experiments. The PPy/Carbon composites synthesized at 0C and with p-TSA as dopant showed the best oxidation resistance than carbon and other composites.

Copyrightª 2012, Hydrogen Energy Publications, LLC. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.



Considering the numerous advantages of the fuel cells, as well as demand from various industries, a question is posed why they have not been commercialized so far[1]? The bottleneck related with the commercialization of the fuel cells is the high cost and also the degradation of the components during the long-term operations in fuel cell[2]. The life-time tests take too much time so mostly accelerated degradation tests are applied to the components in order to determine the dura-bility[3].

Development of long-term durable fuel cell catalysts plays a critical role in commercialization of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells in the aspects of the cost and the fuel cell performance[2,4]. Platinum is the most active metal

for the anode and the cathode electrochemical reactions of PEM fuel cells and if Pt is used effectively, the performance of PEM fuel cell can be improved further[5]. The parameters such as alloy composition, uniformity, morphology, particle size, electronic state, etc. must be controlled to achieve the highly efficient catalysts[6]. High surface area carbon supports are commonly used to increase the Pt surface area including active carbon, carbon black, carbon nanotubes and carbon aerogel[7,8]. Carbon black such as Vulcan XC-72 has been the most widely used catalyst support due to its superior prop-erties[6].

The carbon surface oxide groups are formed during the long-term operations of fuel cells and further oxidation of these groups resulted in carbon dioxide formation named as carbon corrosion which causes performance losses in the fuel

* Corresponding author. Tel.:þ90 4422314639; fax: þ90 4422314544. E-mail address:ayse.bayrakceken@gmail.com(A. Bayrakc¸eken).

Available online at


journal hom epa ge: www.elsev ier.com/locate/he

i n t e r n a t i o n a l j o u r n a l o f h y d r o g e n e n e r g y 3 7 ( 2 0 1 2 ) 1 6 6 7 3e1 6 6 7 9

0360-3199/$e see front matter Copyright ª 2012, Hydrogen Energy Publications, LLC. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2012.02.086


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