|Title of Invention||
METHOD FOR FORMING AN ELECTROCATALYTIC SURFACE ON AN ELECTRODE AND THE ELECTRODE
|Abstract||The invention relates to a method of forming an electrocatalytic surface on an electrode in a simple way, in particular on a lead anode used in the electrolytic recovery of metals. The catalytic coating is formed by a spraying method which does not essentially alter the characteristics of the coating powder during spraying. Transition metal oxides are used as the coating material. After the spray coating the electrode is ready for use without further treatment. The invention also relates to an electrode onto which an electrocatalytic surface is formed.|
|Full Text||FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The invention relates to a method of forming an electrocatalytic surface on
an electrode in a. simple way, in particular on a lead anode used in the
electrolytic recover of metals. The catalytic coating is formed by a spraying
method which does not essentially alter the characteristics of the coating
powder during spraying, Transition metal oxides are used as the coating
material. After spray coating, the electrode is ready for use without further
treatment. The Invention also relates to an electrode onto which an
eiectrocatalytic surface is formed.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The electrolytic recovery of metals, especially metals that are more noble
than hydrogen, takes place from an aqueous solution of the metal. The
recovery of zinc from an aqueous solution can also be performed electrolytically, although zinc is a less noble metal than hydrogen, it is typical
of the method that a pure metal is reduced from the solution onto the
cathode and a gas forms on the anode, which depending on the conditions is
chlorine, oxygen or carbon dioxide, insoluble anodes are used as the anode.
in this case electrolysis is called electrowinning, The most common metals
that are produced by electrowinning from an aqueous solution containing
sulphuric acid are copper and zinc. The potential in the copper and zinc
electrolysis process is regulated to a range in which oxygen is formed at the
Producing a purs metal in electrolysis is the sum total of many factors, but
one important factor is the quality of the anode. The anodes used in copper
and zinc electro-winning are usually made of isad or lead alloy, where the
alloy contains 0.3 - 1.0% silver and possibly 0.04-0.07% calcium. When the
lead based anode described above is used for example in zinc electrolysis,
in which the H2SO4 concentration is of the order of 150-200 g/l, the lead of
the anode starts to dissolve and precipitate on the cathode. The precipitation
of lead on the cathode also causes short circuits, which impede electrolysis.
Under electrolysis conditions, a layer of lead oxide is formed naturally on the
surface of the lead anode, which partially protects the anode from corrosion.
In addition, zinc electrolyte usually contains 3-6 g/l manganese, which over
time precipitates a layer of MnO2 on the anode surface. However, when
there is a thick layer of MnO2 on the surface of the anode, the anode starts to
behave as if it was an MnO2 electrode. The drawbacks of a naturally forming
layer of MnO2 are that a thick layer may cause short circuits and part may fall
into the electrolyte, if its adhesiveness is poor in places. A solid MnO2 layer
is believed to have its own effect on the corrosion of lead anodes and so the
precipitation of manganese ions from the electrolyte solution is considered
undesirable. A major disadvantage is also that a thick MnO2 layer requires a
high anode potential to form oxygen and this raises the energy costs of the
Attempts have been made to prevent anodes from corroding in many ways.
One way to solve the problem is to form a catalyst layer on the surface of the
anode before submersing the anode in the electrolyte, so that the layer
protects the anode from corrosion. However, finding a suitable catalyst
causes difficulties, because electrolysis operates at fairly high acid
Particularly in chlorine-alkali electrolysis, anodes known as dimensionally
stable anodes (DSA), which are described for example in US patents
3,632,498 and 4,140,813, have been used for decades. These have also
been proposed for use instead of lead electrodes in the electrolysis of zinc
and copper because of their energy-saving characteristics, but traditional
anodes made of lead alloy are nevertheless still in use in the majority of the
world's copper and zinc electrolysis facilities.
Methods are known in which an electrocatalyst is formed on the surface of
DSA electrodes. The electrode material, which is usually titanium, is
pretreated by etching or sandblasting and can be given further after-
treatment by spraying some kind of valve metal such as titanium or its oxide.
The final catalytic coating is formed from a solution or suspension of the
catalyst or its precursor, such as a metal salt or organometallic compound.
These chemicals are generally decomposed thermally i.e. treated in a
furnace at a raised temperature to form the desired, catalytically active
surface. The catalyst material is a metal or oxide of the platinum group or
alternatively one of the following metals: titanium, tantalum, niobium,
aluminium, zirconium, manganese, nickel or an alloy thereof. The catalyst
layer can be produced on the surface in different ways, such as painting on
or by spraying, but the layer formation requires one or several heat
treatments at a temperature between 450 - 600°C. Often further
intermediate layers are formed on the electrode surface before the formation
of the final protective layer.These kinds of methods are described in e.g EP
patents 407349 and 576402 and US patent 6287631.
A method is described in US patent 4,140,813, in which a titanium oxide
layer is formed on a sandblasted titanium anode by plasma or flame
spraying, where the composition of the layer can be affected by means of the
spraying temperature and composition of the gas used. In plasma and flame
spraying the coating material melts during spraying. The oxide layer that is
formed i.e. the electrically conductive substrate layer is further treated with
an electrochemically active substance. As activation substances, platinum
metals are employed, preferably ruthenium or iridium, as elements or as
compounds and they are brushed on top of the oxide layer.
Coatings have also been developed for the surface of a lead anode to
protect it and facilitate the development of oxygen. An anode is described in
US patent 4425217, Diamond Shamrock Corp., in which the base of lead or
lead compound is provided with catalytic particles of titanium, which contain
a very small amount of platinum group metal or an oxide thereof. In the
coating fabrication method both the anode and the titanium powder are
treated by etching and the powder is heat-treated in order to oxidize the
precious metal salts into oxides. The powder is attached to the anode
surface by pressing.
EP patent 87186, Eltech Systems Corp., presents a means of providing a
catalyst used on the surface of a DSA electrode on the surface of a lead
anode, in which the catalyst is formed from a titanium sponge, which is
equipped with ruthenium-manganese oxide particles. The making of the
catalytic coating mentioned above in the environment of a zinc and copper
electrolysis facility seems quite difficult and the coating becomes fairly costly.
Attaching the powder to the surface of the anode also occurs by pressing.
PURPOSE OF THE INVENTION
The purpose of the present invention is to form a catalytic surface on an
electrode, particularly a lead based anode, used in the electrolytic recovery
of metals. The surface formed protects the anode from corroding and as an
effect of the surface the overpotential of oxygen required at the anode
remains low. Methods described in the prior art for forming a catalytic surface
require heat treatment and/or etching and possible intermediate layers, but
the method now developed is considerably simpler, because the pre-
treatment of the anode is straightforward, after which catalyst powder is
sprayed directly onto the anode surface and after this the anode is ready for
use without any additional further treatment.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The invention relates to a method for forming an electrocatalytic surface on
an electrode and the electrode formed in this way. According to the method
the surface of the electrode is sprayed with at least one of the oxides of the
transition metals in powder form as a catalytic coating, after which the
electrode is ready for use without any separate heat treatments.
The electrode is preferably a lead anode used in the electrolytic recovery of
metals. The spraying of the catalyst occurs preferably with HVOF spraying or
extremely profitably with cold spraying, in which case the physical and
chemical properties of the catalyst powder essentially remain unchanged
during spraying, because the temperature change occurring in spraying is
The catalyst is preferably selected to be a transition metal oxide, typically
although not compulsorily the form MO2 MO3, M3O4 or M2O5, where M is a
The catalyst material is preferably one or more of the group: MnO2, PtO2,
RUO2, IrO2, Co3O4, NiCo2O4, CoFe2O4, PbO2, NiO2, TiO2, perovskites,
SnO2,-Ta2O5j WO3 and MoO3.
The oxides used as catalyst may be simple oxides or synthesized oxides. In
a synthesized oxide at least one other oxide of the same metal is attached to
the first metal oxide, or one or more oxides of another metal are attached to
the oxide of the first metal.
The invention also relates to an electrode, particularly a lead anode, on the
surface of which an electrocatalytic coating is formed by spraying at least
one transition metal oxide onto it. The electrode is ready for use after
spraying without heat treatment.
The essential features of the invention will be made apparent in the attached
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
The essential characteristics of the catalytic coating formed on the surface of
the electrode are that it decreases the oxygen overpotential and protects
said electrode from corrosion. The catalyst has to be low in price and the
formation of the catalytic layer on the surface of the electrode will also be
profitable. In addition the catalyst should adhere well to its base.
In the description of the prior art it was mentioned that for example in zinc
electrolysis the electrolyte contains manganese, which over time precipitates
as manganese dioxide on the surface of the anode, even though this is
undesirable. The purpose of the method according to the invention now
developed is to form an electrocatalytic layer on the surface of a pure anode
that possesses and increases the desired properties, of which one intention
is to decrease the uncontrolled precipitation of manganese dioxide on the
In one embodiment of the invention, manganese dioxide is used as the
electrocatalyst. With different manufacturing methods it is possible to obtain
manganese dioxides with various electrochemical properties. These include
for instance beta-manganese dioxide βMnO2), chemically manufactured
manganese dioxide (CMD) and electrochemically manufactured manganese
dioxide (EMD). Other manganese dioxides that are available commercially
are heat-treated (HTMD) and natural manganese dioxide (NMD), which may
also be used.
A catalyst coating can be formed on the surface of the anode, which is an
mixture of several manganese dioxides manufactured in different ways.
Likewise a coating may also be composed of some of the manganese
dioxide powders mentioned above, to which some other transition metal
oxides have been combined or the coating material is the oxide of some
completely different transition metal or metals than manganese oxides.
It is typical of the method according to the invention that the desired
composition and characteristics of the transition metal oxide or combination
of several oxides are specified before the powder is sprayed on the surface
of the electrode. The spraying of the powder occurs preferably in a way that
does not essentially change the properties of the powder during spraying. If
desired, the oxidation degree of the powder can also be modified a little
during spraying. After spraying the electrode is ready for use without further
When the catalyst powder is sprayed on top of the substrate material, the
powder not only forms a layer on its substrate but the catalyst particles are
submerged either totally or partially into the substrate material, thus forming
a strong mechanical and/or metallurgical bond. This also achieves a good
electrical connection between the catalyst and substrate material.
One suitable spraying method is HVOF spraying. High Velocity Oxy-Fuel
spraying is based on the continuous combustion of the combustion gas or
fluid and oxygen in the combustion chamber of the spray gun at high
pressure and in the high-speed gas flow generated by the spray gun. The
coating material is fed in powder form by means of a carrier gas, most
commonly axially, into the nozzle of the gun. The powder particles heat up in
the nozzle for only a very short time before they attach themselves to the
substrate material. It was found in the tests carried out that even after the
spraying of several catalyst layers the temperature of the substrate was only
around 100 °C.
A particularly suitable spraying method is known as the cold spraying
method, based on kinetic energy. Since there is no flame in the cold spraying
method, the coating and substrate material do not undergo much heating
and therefore the structure of the coating remains the same during spraying.
Cold spraying is based on the supersonic speed of the carrier gas achieved
in a Laval-type nozzle. The forming of a coating is based on the deformation
of the material and the cold weldability of the metals. This method is used to
attain a dense and adhesive coating, as the kinetic energy of the powder
particles is changed into mechanical energy and partially also into heat, as a
result of which the particles are immersed into the surface to be coated and
form a close-fitting mechanical and/or metallurgical join with the substrate.
Measurements were made after the spraying tests that proved that the
structure of the coating attached to the substrate material in coating by both
the HVOF and the cold spraying techniques was absolutely the same as
before spraying. The preservation of the coating structure during spraying is
important because in this way the desired composition of the coating material
can be controlled and at the same time the entire coating treatment can be
done with one spraying, without intermediate or further treatments. Of course
spraying can occur as a single sweep of the spraying gun or in several
sweeps and the number of sweeps depends on the desired coating
thickness, however the coating is essentially completed in one stage.
Before spraying, the substrate material is cleaned either chemically and/or
mechanically so that there are no extraneous foreign organic or inorganic
elements on the surface in relation to the operating conditions. During
cleaning, the oxide layers on the surface of the substrate that are harmful to
the adherence of the coating are also removed. Typical pre-treatment is grit
blasting with whatever blasting medium is thought appropriate. In some
cases simple pressure washing with water is enough.
The coating powder with catalytic properties is chosen to correspond in
particle size to normal powder used in thermal and cold spraying, or
otherwise so that it suits the desired spraying method. The powder is fed
through either a powder feeder or other suitable device into the spraying
nozzle or gun. The powder feeder may be an ordinary one or one specially
developed for the purpose.
In the spraying, the substrate material is coated with powder having catalytic
properties to the desired layer thickness. The layer thickness is controlled by
the spraying parameters, e.g. the amount of powder fed into the spray gun,
the velocity speed of the spray gun in relation to the plece to be coated, the
number of coatings i.e. the number of sweeps or by a combination of these.
During coating one must watch that the temperature of the coating does not
rise unnecessarily. Preferably coating is performed in an air atmosphere.
The particle size of the catalyst powder to be used in coating is preferably in
the range of 5-100 µm and the thickness of the coating layer around 1-5
times the diameter of the coating particle. Especially when the substrate
material to be coated is a lead anode, it has been found that the coating
layer does not need to cover it completely. The coating fulfils its purpose in
that case even though the coating particles in the anode surface are
separate patches or particles.
Cold spraying is a particularly beneficial spraying method when you wish to
keep the coating material in exactly the composition in which it is fed into the
spraying apparatus. In cold spraying there is for instance no oxidation during
the actual spraying, unless it is expressly desired.
If however, you wish to modify the oxidation degree of the coating material
during spraying, that is also possible when the spraying method and
conditions are selected corresponding to need. For example the composition
of the combustion gas (propane) used in HVOF spraying or the carrier gas
(air, nitrogen, helium) used in cold spraying can be used to affect the
characteristics of the coating to be generated.
The commercially available manganese dioxides βMnO2, CMD and EMD
were used in the tests carried out. Each powder was sprayed onto of a lead
substrate alloyed with silver, with the dimensions of 150 x 270 x 8 mm. Brass
hangers were attached to the upper edge of the pleces and the anodes
formed in this way were tested together with standard anodes (Pb~0.6%Ag)
under typical zinc electrolysis conditions. The current density in the
electrolysis was 570 Am"2 and the concentrations as follows: Zn2+ 55 g/i,
H2SO4 160 g/l, Mn2+ about 5 g/l. Aluminium cathodes were used in the
The anodes were taken from the tank for inspection after 72 hours. The
inspection was made both visually and by EDX-SEM measurements. The
anodes, which had been sprayed with a manganese dioxide layer, had fairly
little attached manganese dioxide deposited from the solution, whereas the
uncoated standard electrodes clearly had more. The EMD-coated anode i.e.
with electrochemically manufactured manganese dioxide, was completely
free of manganese dioxide originating from the solution. On the basis of
empirical observations we can conclude that the amount of MnO2 in the
whole system formed on the surface of electrocatalytically coated anodes
was about half the amount of MnO2 on the uncoated anodes.
1. A method for forming an electrocatalytic surface on an electrode, characterised in that
a catalyst coating in powder form is cold sprayed in one step on the surface of a lead based
anode used in a process of electrolytic recovery of metals, the coating comprising mainly of a
manganese dioxide, being at least one of the following: beta-manganese dioxide (βMnO2),
chemically manufactured manganese dioxide (CMD), electrochemically manufactured
manganese dioxide (EMD), heat-treated (HTMD) or natural manganese dioxide (NMD).
2. A method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the physical and chemical properties of the
catalyst in powder form remain essentially unchanged during spraying.
3. A method as claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein the oxide to be used as a coating is a
simple oxide or a synthesized one, where a variant oxide of the same metal is attached to the
first metal oxide.
4. A method as claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein the oxide to be used as a coating is a
synthesized one, where one or several oxides of another transition metal are attached to the
first metal oxide.
5. A method as claimed in any of preceding claims 1 to 4, wherein the manganese
dioxide is combined with a transition metal being in the form of MO2, MO3, M3O4 or M2O5,
where M is a transition metal.
6. A method as claimed in claim 5, wherein the transition metal is at least one of the
following: PtO2, RuO2, IrO2, Co3O4, NiCo2O4, CoFe2O4, NiO2, TiO2, perovskites, Ta2O5, WO3,
7. A method as claimed in any of preceding claims 1 to 4, wherein the manganese
dioxide is combined with PbO2 or SnO2.
8. A method as claimed in any of preceding claims 1 to 7, wherein the particle size of the
powder to be used in coating is in the region of 5-100 micrometers.
9. A method as claimed in any of preceding claims 1 to 8, wherein the thickness of the
coating to be formed on the electrode is 1-5 times the diameter of the coating powder particle.
10. A method as claimed in any of preceding claims 1 to 9, wherein the electrode is
cleaned chemically and/or mechanically before the formation of the coating on the electrode.
11. An electrocatalytically coated electrode, wherein a coating made up mainly of a
manganese dioxide has been formed on the surface of a lead based anode used in a process of
electrolytic recovery of metals by cold-spraying, the manganese oxide being at least one of
the following: beta-manganese dioxide (βMnO2), chemically manufactured manganese
dioxide (CMD), electrochemically manufactured manganese dioxide (EMD), heat-treated
(HTMD) or natural manganese dioxide (NMD).
12. An electrode as claimed in claim 11, wherein the oxide to be used as a coating is a
simple oxide or a synthesized one, where a variant oxide of the same metal is attached to the
first metal oxide.
13. An electrode as claimed in claim 11 or 12, wherein the oxide to be used as a coating is
a synthesized one, where one or several oxides of another transition metal are attached to the
first metal oxide.
14. An electrode as claimed in any of preceding claims 11 to 13, wherein the manganese
dioxide has been combined with a transition metal being in the form of MO2, MO3, M3O4 or
M2O5, where M is a transition metal.
15. An electrode as claimed in claim 14, wherein the transition metal is at least one of the
following: PtO2, RuOz, IrO2, Co3O4, NiCo2O4, CoFe2O4, NiO2, TiO2, perovskites, Ta2O5, WO3,
16. An electrode as claimed in any of preceding claims 11 to 13, wherein the manganese
dioxide has been combined with PbO2 or SnO2.
17. An electrode as claimed in any of preceding claims 11 to 16, wherein the thickness of
the coating to be formed on the electrode is 1-5 times the diameter of the coating powder
METHOD FOR FORMING AN ELECTROCATALYTIC
SURFACE ON AN ELECTRODE AND THE ELECTRODE
The invention relates to a method of forming an electrocatalytic surface on an
electrode in a simple way, in particular on a lead anode used in the electrolytic recovery of
metals. The catalytic coating is formed by a spraying method which does not essentially alter
the characteristics of the coating powder during spraying. Transition metal oxides are used as
the coating material. After the spray coating the electrode is ready for use without further
treatment. The invention also relates to an electrode onto which an electrocatalytic surface is
|Indian Patent Application Number||1306/KOLNP/2008|
|PG Journal Number||33/2012|
|Date of Filing||01-Apr-2008|
|Name of Patentee||OUTOTEC OYJ|
|Applicant Address||RIIHITONTUNTIE 7, FI-02200 ESPOO|
|PCT International Classification Number||C23C 4/10|
|PCT International Application Number||PCT/FI2006/000314|
|PCT International Filing date||2006-09-26|