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Home > News > Hairy electrodes for green cars

December 1st, 2008

Hairy electrodes for green cars

Abstract:
The group has had a number of recent successes in production of both membranes and catalytic electrodes.

The manufacture of electrodes begins with a substrate of carbon paper; chosen because it's both porous to the gaseous fuels used in the final cells and is also an excellent conductor of electricity. This is loaded into the plasma reactor chamber and a very fine layer of nickel is deposited on the surface. Under the right conditions the nickel forms nanoscale droplets all over the carbon surface. The next stage is to introduce methane and hydrogen into the plasma chamber. Many complex reactions ensue leading to a very surprising situation where carbon complexes diffuse through the nickel seeds to form multi-carbon complexes below. The highly reactive hydrogen protons in the chamber etch away any carbon atoms that aren't strongly bonded to each other. The practical upshot of this is that carbon nano fibres grow below the nickel droplets lifting them from the substrate as they extend. The result is a carpet-like covering of carbon nanofibres on the paper.

Source:
sciencealert.com.au

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