Platinum–Glass Composite Electrode for Fuel Cell Applications

Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Engineering, Chemical Engineering


Thin-film electrodes for a low-power direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) were prepared by incorporating carbon-supported Pt nanoparticles into a silicon dioxide glass matrix. The matrix was prepared via a sol-gel technique where tetraethyl orthosilicate (TEOS) was hydrolyzed by in the presence of methanol. The was stirred into the sol and the resulting mixture was applied to a glass membrane substrate and cured. The resulting films were thick. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images indicate that the was well dispersed, forming glass-separated conductive islands with sheet resistances in excess of . The catalyst islands were interconnected into a conductive sheet by electrolessly depositing platinum from an aqueous plating bath. The glass composite thin-film electrodes showed high methanol oxidation peak currents of when immersed in , methanol electrolyte. The composite electrode was also applied to the anode of a passive DMFC and compared to an equivalent passive DMFC with a traditional Nafion-based Pt anode electrode with at room temperature. The composite electrode DMFC showed a higher open-circuit voltage than the Nafion electrode cell, and the current density was also modestly improved.