Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Vol.582, 167-176, 2021
Highly energetic impact of H-2 and O-2 nanobubbles on Pt surface
Hypothesis Water electrolysis performed by short (less than or similar to 5 mu s) voltage pulses of alternating polarity generates a dense cloud of H-2 and O-2 nanobubbles. Platinum electrodes turn black in this process, while they behave differently when the polarity is not altered. We prove that the modification of Pt is associated with highly energetic impact of nanobubbles rather than with any electrochemical process. Experiments Nanobubbles are generated by planar Pt or Ti microelectrodes. The process is driven by a series of alternating or single polarity pulses. In the case of Ti electrodes a Pt plate is separated by a gap from the electrodes. Nanoparticles on the surface of platinum are investigated with a scanning electron microscope and elemental composition is analysed using an energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometer. Findings Vigorous formation of Pt nanoparticles with a size of 10 nm is observed when the process is driven by the alternating polarity pulses. The effects of Pt corrosion have different character and cannot explain the phenomenon. Similar nanoparticles are observed when the Pt plate is exposed to a stream of nanobubbles. The process is explained by spontaneous combustion of hydrogen and oxygen nanobubbles on Pt surface. The phenomenon can be used to remove strongly adhered particles from solids. (C) 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.