Electrocatalytic Activity of Ni-B-based Polyalloy and Composite Coatings

K. Sahin1,2, Golnaz Taghavi Pourian Azar1, Véronique Vitry2, Andrew Cobley1

1Institute for Clean Growth and Future Mobility, Coventry University, Priory St, Coventry, CV1 5FB, UK.
2Department of Metallurgy, University of Mons (UMONS), 23 Place du Parc, B-7000 Mons, Belgium.


Since carbon-based fossil fuels threaten environmental health by creating air pollution and resulting in climate change, it is very important to investigate alternative solutions for the energy-related crisis. Using molecular hydrogen as a green energy source has been considered as one of the most promising energy sources due to its high energy density 1. Photo or electro-driven water splitting methods are amongst the best solutions to generate hydrogen fuels. Although water splitting is a highly promising solution to answer the global energy demand, active electrocatalyst materials are required to complete the reactions efficiently and sustainably. Platinum group metals (PGM) are the most used electrocatalysts in this application. However, Ni-based electrocatalysts have been reported as one of the most promising alternatives to expensive metal and metal oxides. This is owing to their excellent features such as low cost, high abundance, high corrosion resistance and durability, catalytic activity, and good synergistic effect with other elements 2. Alloying Ni with non-transitional-metal elements and better control over the material properties such as porosity, active sites, etc. are highly recommended to design improved Ni-based electrocatalysts. Boron is one of the alloying elements which enhances the electrocatalytic performance of Ni coatings by increasing the durability and the number of active sites. Additionally, the focus up to date is mostly on coating Ni-B on a surface with electrodeposition and electroless plating. An alternative method that can be used to deposit Ni-B coatings is Magnetron Sputtering physical vapor deposition (MSPVD) which has an excellent advantage due to the controlled structure and tunable porosity. Also, alloying with other elements to enhance their electrochemical performance is easier to achieve by MSPVD.

Our current study is designed to investigate the electrocatalytic performance of Ni-B based polyalloys coatings deposited by MSPVD. Deposition of Ni-B matrix alloyed with other transition metals such as Co, and Mo completed by Magnetron Sputtering PVD. The coatings’ structural, morphological, and electrocatalytic characteristics will be investigated using SEM, XRD, ICP, and electrochemical analysis such as cyclic voltammetry, linear sweep voltammetry, and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy techniques. This project aims to understand the effect of Boron, ternary alloying elements, and better structure control of Ni-B-based MSPVD coatings on the electrocatalytic performances of these coatings.


1.        Nocera, D. G. Chemistry of personalized solar energy. Inorg. Chem. 48, 10001–10017 (2009).
2.        Vij, V. et al. Nickel-based electrocatalysts for energy-related applications: Oxygen reduction, oxygen evolution, and hydrogen evolution reactions. ACS Catal. 7, 7196–7225 (2017).

3.        Hassan, H. B. & Hamid, Z. A. Electroless Ni-B supported on carbon for direct alcohol fuel cell applications. Int. J. Hydrogen Energy 36, 849–856 (2011).