Porous core-shell Fe3C embedded N-doped carbon nanofibers as an effective electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction reaction

Guangyuan Ren, Xianyong Lu, Yunan Li, Ying Zhu, Liming Dai, Lei Jiang

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The development of nonprecious-metal-based electrocatalysts with high oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) activity, low cost, and good durability in both alkaline and acidic media is very important for application of full cells. Herein, we developed a facile and economical strategy to obtain porous core-shell Fe3C embedded nitrogen-doped carbon nanofibers (Fe3C@NCNF-X, where X denotes pyrolysis temperature) by electrospinning of polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) and FeCl3 mixture, chemical vapor phase polymerization of pyrrole, and followed by pyrolysis of composite nanofibers at high temperatures. Note that the FeCl3 and polypyrrole acts as precursor for Fe3C core and N-doped carbon shell, respectively. Moreover, PVDF not only plays a role as carbon resources, but also provides porous structures due to hydrogen fluoride exposure originated from thermal decomposition of PVDF. The resultant Fe3C@NCNF-X catalysts, particularly Fe3C@NCNF-900, showed efficient electrocatalytic performance for ORR in both alkaline and acidic solutions, which are attributed to the synergistic effect between Fe3C and N-doped carbon as catalytic active sites, and carbon shell protects Fe3C from leaching out. In addition, the Fe3C@NCNF-X catalyst displayed a better long-term stability, free from methanol crossover and CO-poisoning effects than those of Pt/C, which is of great significance for the design and development of advanced electrocatalysts based on nonprecious metals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4118-4125
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • core-shell structure
  • electrospinning
  • FeC
  • oxygen reduction reaction
  • vapor phase polymerization

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