The hydrogen evolution reaction is an electrochemical processes that has received wide attention because of its importance in both fundamental and technological electrochemistry. The electrocatalysis of this reaction is presently the object of many studies directed to the production of hydrogen by water electrolysis in alkaline solutions. This work describes the preparation and characterization of several nickel alloys prepared by electrodeposition on mild steel substrates. These low cost materials present a reduction of cathodic overpotential which amounts to 10-15% of the operational voltage of an electrolyser operating with mild steel cathodes, which means a significant reduction in the cost of the hydrogen produced. The surface composition of the alloys was determined by X-ray techniques and chemical analysis, and the morphology by SEM techniques. From an electrochemical point of view the stability of the materials was confirmed first by long term operation. The kinetics and mechanism of the hydrogen evolution reaction was then determined by classical techniques like the steady state current-potential behavior and by modern, powerful techniques like impedance spectroscopy. This detailed study of the characteristics of the reaction on several materials is essential to identify the fundamental parameters that must be optimized in an effective electrocatalyst.
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