The effect of silicone on the catalytic activity of Pt for oxygen reduction and hydrogen adsorption was studied using diphenyl siloxane as a source compound at a rotating disk electrode (RDE). Diphenyl siloxane did not affect the catalytic activity of Pt when it was injected into the electrolyte. However, it blocked the oxygen reduction reaction when it was premixed with the catalyst. Proton transport was not blocked in either case. We postulate that diphenyl siloxane induces hydrophobicity and causes local water starvation, thereby blocking oxygen transport. Hence, the slow leaching of silicone seals in a fuel cell could cause silicon accumulation in the electrode, which irreversibly degrades fuel cell performance by blocking oxygen transport to the catalyst sites.
Electrochemical and Solid-State Letters, 2007, pages B207-B209.
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Publisher's Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1149/1.2787870