Sustainable and rapid preparation of nanosized Fe/Ni-pentlandite particles by mechanochemistry

Tetzlaff, D. and Pellumbi, K. and Baier, D.M. and Hoof, L. and Shastry Barkur, H. and Smialkowski, M. and Amin, H.M.A. and Grätz, S. and Siegmund, D. and Borchardt, L. and Apfel, U.-P.

Volume: 11 Pages: 12835-12842
DOI: 10.1039/d0sc04525j
Published: 2020

In recent years, metal-rich sulfides of the pentlandite type (M9S8) have attracted considerable attention for energy storage applications. However, common synthetic routes towards pentlandites either involve energy intensive high temperature procedures or solvothermal methods with specialized precursors and non-sustainable organic solvents. Herein, we demonstrate that ball milling is a simple and efficient method to synthesize nanosized bimetallic pentlandite particles (Fe4.5Ni4.5S8, Pn) with an average size of ca. 250 nm in a single synthetic step from elemental- or sulfidic mixtures. We herein highlight the effects of the milling ball quantity, precursor types and milling time on the product quality. Along this line, Raman spectroscopy as well as temperature/pressure monitoring during the milling processes provide valuable insights into mechanistic differences between the mechanochemical Pn-formation. By employing the obtained Pn-nanosized particles as cathodic electrocatalysts for water splitting in a zero-gap PEM electrolyzer we provide a comprehensive path for a potential sustainable future process involving non-noble metal catalysts. © 2020 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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