Cyclic voltammetry of zinc plated from flowing alkaline zincate electrolyte with a bismuth additive showed a marked mass transport effect during metal layer deplating. This bismuth was added as Bi2O3 and had a saturated concentration of 26 ppm bismuth. Using a small, transparent window flow cell the mechanism was studied in situ using synchrotron X-rays. X-ray microdiffraction revealed that the metal-electrolyte interface was bismuth rich, and bismuth behaved in a manner similar to a surfactant. Transmission X-ray microscopy revealed that in the presence of bismuth additive, 5 [im raised features on the metal layer were preferentially dissolved during deplating. However, macro-morphology experiments demonstrated that at 26 ppm a detrimental bismuth buildup occurred over many cycles. By reducing additive concentration to 3 ppm a metal layer was planarized compared to a no-additive control, while avoiding the bismuth buildup. These findings suggested that 3 ppm bismuth could be used to planarize zinc metal layers such as those in flow-assisted zinc batteries. However, concentration will need to be well-controlled.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry