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J Am Chem Soc. 2005 Oct 5;127(39):13573-82.

Deposition precipitation for the preparation of carbon nanofiber supported nickel catalysts.

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Department of Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis, Debye Institute, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80 083, 3508 TB Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Deposition precipitation of nickel hydroxide onto modified carbon nanofibers has been studied and compared to deposition onto silica. The carbon nanofiber support materials consisted of graphite-like material of the fishbone-type with a diameter of 20-50 nm and a specific surface area of 150 m2/g. Modification involved surface oxidation (CNF-O) optionally followed by partial reduction (CNF-OR) or thermal treatment (CNF-OT). Titration of the support materials showed the presence of 0.17 and 0.03 mmol/g carboxylic acid groups for CNF-O and CNF-OR, respectively. For the CNF-OT only basic groups were present. The deposition precipitation of 20 wt % nickel onto these supports has been studied by time dependent pH and nickel loading studies. With silica, nickel ion adsorption did not occur prior to nucleation of the nickel hydroxide phase at pH = 5.6. With CNF-O, nickel ion adsorption took place right from the start of the deposition process at pH = 3.5, and at pH = 5.6 already 4 wt % nickel was adsorbed. Nucleation of nickel hydroxide onto adsorbed nickel ion clusters proceeded subsequently. Characterization of the dried Ni/CNF-O samples with TEM and XRD showed well dispersed and thin (5 nm) platelets of nickel hydroxide adhering to the carbon nanofibers. After reduction at 773 K in hydrogen the Ni/CNF-O contained metallic nickel particles of 8 nm homogeneously distributed over the fibers. With CNF-OR and CNF-OT, precipitation of large platelets (> 500 nm) separate from the support took place. Clearly, the presence of carboxylic acid groups is essential to successfully deposit nickel hydroxide onto modified carbon nanofibers.

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