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Electrocatalytic activity of transition metal substituted heteropolytungstates


Toth, James E. (1990) Electrocatalytic activity of transition metal substituted heteropolytungstates. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/qg82-8y71.


The electrochemical and electrocatalytic behavior of a series of heteropolytungstate anions in which a tungsten atom in the well known Keggin structure has been replaced by an iron atom is described. All of the iron substituted ions exhibit a one electron reversible couple associated with the Fe3+ center and a pair of two electron waves attributed to electron addition and removal from the tungsten oxo framework. The pH and ionic strength effects upon the various electrochemical processes are discussed and interpreted in terms of a competition between protonation and ion pairing of the highly negatively charged ions.

The anions are efficient catalysts for the electroreduction of hydrogen peroxide. A catalytic mechanism involving a formally Fe(IV) intermediate is proposed. Pulse radiolysis experiments were employed to detect the intermediate and evaluate the rate constants for the reactions in which it is formed and decomposed. A chain mechanism for the catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide in which the Fe center shuttles between the +2, +3, and +4 oxidation states is proposed to explain the non-integral stoichiometry observed for the iron substituted polytungstate catalyzed electroreduction of hydrogen peroxide.

The anions are also efficient electrocatalyst for the electrochemical conversion of nitric oxide to ammonia. The catalyzed reduction does not produce hydroxylamine as an intermediate and appears to depend upon the ability of the multiply reduced heteropolytungstates to deliver several electrons to the bound NO group in a concerted step. A valuable feature of the heteropolytungstates is the ease at which the formal potentials of the several redox couples they exhibit may be shifted by changing the identity of the central heteroatom. Exploitation of this feature provided diagnostic information that was decisive in establishing the mechanism of electrocatalytic reduction.

The iron substituted heteropolytungstates are not degraded by repeated cycling between their oxidized and reduced states. They also show superior activity compared to their unsubstituted analogues, indicating that the Fe center acts as a binding site that facilitates inner-sphere electron transfer processes. The basic electrochemistry of several other transition metal substituted Keggin ions is also described.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Chemistry
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Major Option:Chemistry
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Anson, Fred C.
Thesis Committee:
  • Gray, Harry B. (chair)
Defense Date:10 August 1989
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:07162014-142404383
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8544
Deposited By: Benjamin Perez
Deposited On:16 Jul 2014 22:28
Last Modified:09 Nov 2022 19:20

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