Many industrial processes proceed through electrochemical oxidation and reduction reactions and, thus, several properties of materials involve the flow of electrons (current) which can be measured and controlled electronically. Therefore, controlled electrochemical experimental methods can be used to characterize the electrochemical properties of metals and metal components in combination with various electrolyte solutions.
A typical example is the corrosion characteristics, unique to each metal/solution system, since electrons are released by the metal (oxidation) and gained by elements (reduction) in the corroding solution. Corrosion represents about 30% of the causes of component failures in engineering applications. Electrochemical methods are used for comparison of raw materials (screening) for corrosion characteristics.
The typical analytical information which can be derived includes:
- Qualitative and quantitative characterization of corrosion (corrosion rate, corrosive attack, localized corrosion, passivation behaviour, anodic and cathodic protection)
- Estimation of service life (metals, alloys, coatings etc.)
Other applications include fast and efficient screenings of materials (electrocatalysts and electrolytes) for fuel cells, electrolysers, sensors and batteries.
PSDI offers a wide range of advanced equipment and tools for electrochemical characterisations of materials and systems. Electrochemical techniques including electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), cyclic voltammetry and stationary current-voltage, current-power output can be used in electrochemical testing rigs for the investigation and deeper understanding of the electrochemical processes taking place on electrocatalyst surfaces as well as at the electrode/electrolyte interfaces, and the ageing mechanisms of the materials. Electrochemical characterisations may be supported by several analytical characterization techniques, available at CPERI/CERTH. Electrochemical test rigs can accommodate custom materials sizes and shapes in a wide range of temperatures (from room temperature up to 1200o C) for the investigation of both liquid and solid state electrochemical systems.
Electrochemical methods are associated with materials selection, degradation mechanisms, and failure analysis in a range of industries, including construction, marine, manufacturing, chemical and petrochemical, power generation, coatings and electronics.
Laboratory facilities related to electrochemical testing and evaluation include:
- Cyclic Voltammetry (CV)
- Linear Sweep Voltammetry (LSV)
- Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS)
- Chronoamperometry (CA)
- Chronocoulometry (CC)
- Linear Polarization Resistance (LPR) monitoring
- Conductivity measurements (2-point, 4-point).