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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 15 (2010) pp 290-294

Different Pathways of Oxygen Reduction Reaction Studied by Rotating Disk Electrode (RDE) Voltammetry: An Advanced Analytical Chemistry Exercise

Lasantha T. Viyannalage, Nikolay Dimitrov, and Alexsandra Silva*

Department of Chemistry, Binghamton University, PO 6000, Binghamton, NY 13902-6000;
Received December 20, 2009. Accepted March 4, 2010.

Published: 31 July 2010

Abstract. We propose here an experimental activity aimed at the advanced undergraduate level, introducing the basic principles of Rotating Disk Electrode (RDE) Voltammetry. The objectives are (i) to demonstrate basic concepts, (ii) to build up relevant experimental skills, and (iii) to apply RDE technique to the analysis of traces of electroactive species undergoing mass-transport controlled reduction reaction. In this laboratory exercise, students are able to assess quantitatively the impact of convection on the kinetics of oxygen and/or hydrogen peroxide reduction taking place on a platinum electrode. Applied in a relatively straight forward experimental layout, the RDE protocol enables herein the determination of both oxygen concentration and number of exchanged electrons of peroxide reduction in sodium sulfate solution. The acquired knowledge provides background on a key reduction protocol that is widely used in today’s fuel cell catalysis. The developed experimental skills could be extended to other quantitative studies performed in systems that feature mass-transport limited reaction kinetics.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; analytic chemistry; instrumental; electrochemistry; laboratory instruction; kinetics; transport properties

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (287 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

Two supporting files are available. Instructors notes and a student handout (414 KB).

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