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Faraday Discuss. 2008;140:379-97; discussion 417-37.

Surface structure effects on the electrochemical oxidation of ethanol on platinum single crystal electrodes.

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  • 1Instituto de Química de São, Carlos Universidade de São Paulo, Av. Trab. Sãdocarlense 400, São Carlos, SP 13560-970, Brazil.


Ethanol oxidation has been studied on Pt(111), Pt(100) and Pt(110) electrodes in order to investigate the effect of the surface structure and adsorbing anions using electrochemical and FTIR techniques. The results indicate that the surface structure and anion adsorption affect significantly the reactivity of the electrode. Thus, the main product of the oxidation of ethanol on the Pt(111) electrode is acetic acid, and acetaldehyde is formed as secondary product. Moreover, the amount of CO formed is very small, and probably associated with the defects present on the electrode surface. For that reason, the amount of CO2 is also small. This electrode has the highest catalytic activity for the formation of acetic acid in perchloric acid. However, the formation of acetic acid is inhibited by the presence of specifically adsorbed anions, such as (bi)sulfate or acetate, which is the result of the formation of acetic acid. On the other hand, CO is readily formed at low potentials on the Pt(100) electrode, blocking completely the surface. Between 0.65 and 0.80 V, the CO layer is oxidized and the production of acetaldehyde and acetic acid is detected. The Pt(110) electrode displays the highest catalytic activity for the splitting of the C-C bond. Reactions giving rise to CO formation, from either ethanol or acetaldehyde, occur at high rate at any potential. On the other hand, the oxidation of acetaldehyde to acetic acid has probably the lower reaction rate of the three basal planes.

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