Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Chemistry (BA, BS)



First Advisor

Dr. Chuan-Jian Zhong


Science and Mathematics

Subject Heading(s)

Fuel cells; Nanoparticles; Ternary alloys; Catalysts; Platinum alloys Fuel cell vehicles


A hydrogen fuel cell is an electrochemical device that converts oxygen and hydrogen into electrical energy while producing water as the only by-product, which has attracted growing interest, especially in the automotive industry. This technology is efficient and has zero pollution to the environment, in contrast to the direct use of fossil fuels in combustion engines which produce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. One of the key components for hydrogen fuel cells is the catalyst that operates at the cathode, which currently use platinum. Due to the scarce amount of platinum in the world, the manufacturing cost for fuel cells is high. This is one of the main reasons why fuel cell vehicles are not widely commercialized. In order to address the high cost of platinum, one of the approaches is to alloy different transition metals such as iron and nickel with platinum for the preparation of the catalysts. This thesis work has investigated different synthesis techniques for the preparation of various ternary nanoalloy catalysts. Characterization of the nanoalloy structures were carried out using X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Inductively Coupled Plasma- Optical Emission Spectrometry (ICP-OES) methods. The XRD results showed a clear dependence of the lattice constants on the ternary composition. ICP results showed the high controllability of the nanoalloys at various compositions. Membrane electrode assembly (MEA) was prepared with selected catalysts, and the catalytic performance was tested in a proton exchange membrane fuel cell. Results will be discussed along with the implication of the findings for the design of low-cost and durable catalysts for fuel cell applications.

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Chemistry Commons