Diverse synthesis of Iron Carbides, Morphology, and Electrochemical Uses

Beck, Brittney
Iron carbide compounds have been investigated as catalysts for several energy related applications. These carbide materials also have other unique properties inducing stability, high melting points, and extreme hardness. Iron carbides however haven't been studied as nanomaterials due to limited synthesis techniques. We are studying a low temperature amine metal oxide route to form iron carbide as nanoparticles. This technique has been tested at temperatures ranging from 650°C to as high as 800°C. Iron carbide was successfully made using three separate diamines these conditions. We have also studied the amount of amine and have made them with a minimal amount of amine, with as low of a ratio as 1 Iron precursor to .02 parts amine. Even when iron carbide is consistently made, the morphology of Fe3C changes with various ratios of iron precursor to amine. SEM pictures have shown nanorods, nanotubes and most commonly, bricks with carbon coating. Once the synthesis of these materials is better understood, we will test the product for their catalytic activity for hydrogen evolution and oxygen reduction reactions. These high surface area cheap materials have the promise to be great catalysts for future energy applications.
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