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International Journal of Electrochemistry
Volume 2012, Article ID 267893, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/267893
Research Article

Influence of Synthesis pH on Textural Properties of Carbon Xerogels as Supports for Pt/CXs Catalysts for Direct Methanol Fuel Cells

Instituto de Carboquímica (CSIC), Miguel Luesma Castán 4, 50018 Zaragoza, Spain

Received 1 May 2011; Revised 4 September 2011; Accepted 19 September 2011

Academic Editor: Elena Pastor Tejera

Copyright © 2012 C. Alegre et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Carbon xerogels (CXs) have been prepared by polycondensation of resorcinol and formaldehyde. Two synthesis pHs were studied in order to evaluate its influence on the electrochemical behaviour of Pt catalysts supported on previous carbon xerogels, synthesized by conventional impregnation method. Catalysts were also synthesized over a commercial carbon black (Vulcan-XC-72R) for comparison purposes. Characterization techniques included nitrogen physisorption, scanning electron microscopy, and X-ray diffraction. Catalysts electrochemical activity towards the oxidation of carbon monoxide and methanol was studied by cyclic voltammetry and chronoamperometry to establish the effect of the carbon support on the catalysts performance. Commercial Pt/C catalyst (E-TEK) was analyzed for comparison purposes. It was observed that the more developed and mesopore-enriched porous structure of the carbon xerogel synthesized at a higher initial pH resulted in an optimal utilization of the active phase and in an enhanced and promising catalytic activity in the electrooxidation of methanol, in comparison with commercial catalysts.