Tungsten carbide modified high surface area carbon as fuel cell catalyst support

Minhua Shao, Belabbes Merzougui, Krista Shoemaker, Laura Stolar, Lesia Protsailo, Zachary J. Mellinger, Irene J. Hsu, Jingguang G. Chen

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30 Citations (Scopus)


Phase pure WC nanoparticles were synthesized on high surface area carbon black (800 m2 g-1) by a temperature programmed reaction (TPR) method. The particle size of WC can be controlled under 30 nm with a relatively high coverage on the carbon surface. The electrochemical testing results demonstrated that the corrosion resistance of carbon black was improved by 2-fold with a surface modification by phase pure WC particles. However, the WC itself showed some dissolution under potential cycling. Based on the X-ray diffraction (XRD) and inductively coupled plasma (ICP) analysis, most of the WC on the surface was lost or transformed to oxides after 5000 potential cycles in the potential range of 0.65-1.2 V. The Pt catalyst supported on WC/C showed a slightly better ORR activity than that of Pt/C, with the Pt activity loss rate for Pt/WC/C being slightly slower compared to that of Pt/C. The performance and decay rate of Pt/WC/C were also evaluated in a fuel cell.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7426-7434
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2011



  • Activity
  • Corrosion
  • Durability
  • Fuel cell catalysts
  • Oxygen reduction reaction
  • X-ray absorption near edge structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Cite this

Shao, M., Merzougui, B., Shoemaker, K., Stolar, L., Protsailo, L., Mellinger, Z. J., Hsu, I. J., & Chen, J. G. (2011). Tungsten carbide modified high surface area carbon as fuel cell catalyst support. Journal of Power Sources, 196(18), 7426-7434. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpowsour.2011.04.026