Synthesis and optimisation of IrO2 electrocatalysts by Adams fusion method for solid polymer electrolyte electrolysers
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IrO2 as an anodic electrocatalyst for the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) in solid polymer electrolyte (SPE) electrolysers was synthesised by adapting the Adams fusion method. Optimisation of the IrO2 electrocatalyst was achieved by varying the synthesis duration (0.5 – 4 hours) and temperature (250 - 500°C). The physical properties of the electrocatalysts were characterised by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and x-ray diffraction (XRD). Electrochemical characterisation of the electrocatalysts toward the OER was evaluated by chronoamperometry (CA). CA analysis revealed the best electrocatalytic activity towards the OER for IrO2 synthesised for 2 hours at 350oC which displayed a better electrocatalytic activity than the commercial IrO2 electrocatalyst used in this study. XRD and TEM analyses revealed an increase in crystallinity and average particle size with increasing synthesis duration and temperature which accounted for the decreasing electrocatalytic activity. At 250°C the formation of an active IrO2 electrocatalyst was not favoured.