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Platinum Metals Rev., 1971, 15, (3), 101

Platinised Platinum Electrodes

Properties and Methods of Preparation

  • L.B.H.

Although it is more than 75 years ago that the idea of electrodepositing platinum black on to a platinum electrode was first proposed by Lummer and Kurlbaum working at the Physikalisch-Technische Reichanstalt in Charlottenberg, and then adopted by Kohlrausch, a certain vagueness seems always to have characterised the procedure.

The platinised platinum electrode has of course become thoroughly established, not only as the basis of hydrogen reference electrode, but also as an electrocatalyst in much of the work that has contributed to the development of the fuel cell. The primary object is to attain the maximum possible surface area combined with good adhesion, and it was for the latter purpose that the original workers hit upon the idea of adding a small concentration of lead acetate to the plating solution. This recipe has indeed stood the test of time, but more modern methods of investigation have naturally increased our knowledge of the mechanism involved and of the structure and properties of the deposit, as well as its reproducibility. None the less, a variety of procedures is still recommended in laboratory textbooks.

An excellent and comprehensive survey of the whole subject has now fortunately been prepared by two workers in the Department of Chemistry at Imperial College, London, A. M. Feltham and M. Spiro (Chem. Rev., 1971, 71, (2), 177–193). This reviews the quite extensive literature (there are no less than 107 references) and provides in one convenient form a permanent record of all the many investigations on various aspects of the subject. Electrode kinetics and mechanism are fully covered, the methods of electrodeposition and the mechanism of nucleation and growth of the deposit are reviewed, and finally a survey is provided of the numerous procedures recommended over the years, with final recommendations based upon the authors’ investigations.