The use of air fuel cell cathodes to remove contaminants from spent chromium plating solutions

K. L. Huang, T. M. Holsen, T. C. Chou, M. C. Yang

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Results from experiments using an impregnation-reduction (I-R) Pt ? Nafion membrane electrode assembly (MEA) in an air fuel cell cathode to remove contaminants (Cu(II), Ni(II), and Fe(III)) from spent chromium electroplating baths are presented in this study. A platinum-carbon (Pt-C) ? Nafion MEA and a Pb planar cathode were also used for comparison. The average removal rates of Cu(II) and Ni(II) were almost the same (0.39 and 0.40 mM hr-1 (or 0.117 and 0.12 mmol h-1), respectively) but higher than that of Fe(III) (0.16 mM hr-1, or 0.048 mmol hr-1) in accordance with the Nernst-Planck flux equation. The removal rates for the same cation were independent of the cathode used. The average removal rate of each impurity was approximately proportional to the product of its initial concentration and separator area/anolyte volume ratio using Pb cathodes. Under constant current conditions the system using the Pt-C ? Nafion cathode needed the highest cell voltage, about 3 V more than needed for the system with the Pt ? Nafion cathode. The cell voltage required using the Pt ? Nafion cathode was similar to that using the conventional planar Pb cathode. Analyses of cathode deposits by SEM/EDS and XPS techniques indicated they were minimal on the Pb and Pt ? Nafion cathode and more apparent on the Pt-C ? Nafion cathode. The primary deposits on the Pb cathode were chromium oxides (e.g., Cr2O3) with minor amount of lead chromate (lead dichromate or lead trichromate) and other chromium solids (Cr black). As expected, the dominant deposit on the lead anode surface was PbO2−.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-49
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Technology (United Kingdom)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal

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