Double layer, diluent and anode effects upon the electrodeposition of aluminium from chloroaluminate based ionic liquids


The deposition of aluminium from a chloroaluminate based ionic liquid was studied to elucidate the effect of a diluent (toluene) and electrolyte (LiCl) on the deposit morphology. A wide variety of analytical techniques was applied to this system to determine the speciation and mechanism of material growth. These included: 27Al NMR, FAB-MS, cyclic voltammetry, chronocoulometry, chronopotentiometry, scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy. It was found that under-potential deposition (upd) causes a change in the way in which metal grows on the electrode surface. Metal grows in two regimes which are believed to be nano-material and bulk material. The addition of toluene causes a change in speciation and a decrease in upd which in turn changes the morphology of the deposit obtained and can lead to mirror finish aluminium. The addition of LiCl has the opposite effect encouraging upd and leading to larger crystallites and a dark grey deposit. It is also shown for the first time that under many conditions the rate of the anodic dissolution process is overall rate controlling and one effect of the addition of toluene is to increase the rate of anodic dissolution. © 2010 the Owner Societies.

Publication Title

Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics