Bismuth Carbide Catalysts

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bismuth carbide (Bi2C2) has a metallic luster and a silvery white color with an iridescent tarnish. This metal has a low melting point, making it useful for alloying. It’s also nontoxic and a safer alternative to Lead in many applications, including ceramic glazes, fishing sinkers and free-machining brasses for plumbing.

When a liquid Bismuth solution freezes, it expands because of the crystalline structure that results from its reduced form. This can make it an ideal catalyst for hydrogen production by CO oxidation, as it reduces methane to oxygen in this process.

It’s also been used for photocatalysis, as it helps break down organic dye molecules. However, its high redox potential and electron-hole pair generation rate limit its use as a photocatalyst.

The metal’s redox properties were analyzed in conjunction with the XPS study. In particular, we looked at the redox cycles of the bismuth species on the surface and sub-surface of Fe/CNT + Bi/CNT and Fe/CNT catalysts.

We found that the redox cycles of bismuth on the surface of Fe/CNT + Bi/CNT catalysts are enhanced by the oxygen scavenging and reversible oxidation of the bismuth species occupying close proximity to iron carbide nanoparticles (Fig. S11, ESI+).

This enhanced catalytic performance is mainly attributed to the iron sintering that occurred under the catalyst activation via the particle migration and coalescence mechanism. This sintering can be observed by in situ STEM operating under atmospheric pressure of CO at the temperatures of catalyst activation.