Electrochemical reduction of trinitrotoluene on core-shell tin-carbon electrodes

Irena Grigoriants, Boris Markovsky, Rachel Persky, Ilana Perelshtein, Aharon Gedanken, Doron Aurbach, Boris Filanovsky, Tatiana Bourenko, Israel Felner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


In this work, we studied the electrochemical process of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) reduction on a new type of electrodes based on a core-shell tin-carbon Sn(C) structure. The Sn(C) composite was prepared from the precursor tetramethyl-tin Sn(CH3)4, and the product contained a core of submicron-sized tin particles uniformly enveloped with carbon shells. Cyclic voltammograms of Sn(C) electrodes in aqueous sodium chloride solutions containing TNT show three well-pronounced reduction waves in the potential range of -0.50 to -0.80 V (vs. an Ag/AgCl/Cl- reference electrode) that correspond to the multistep process of TNT reduction. Electrodes containing Sn(C) particles annealed at 800 °C under argon develop higher voltammetric currents of TNT reduction (comparing to the as-prepared tin-carbon material) due to stabilization of the carbon shell. It is suggested that the reduction of TNT on core-shell tin-carbon electrodes is an electrochemically irreversible process. A partial oxidation of the TNT reduction products occurred at around -0.20 V. The electrochemical response of TNT reduction shows that it is not controlled by the diffusion of the active species to/from the electrodes but rather by interfacial charge transfer and possible adsorption phenomena. The tin-carbon electrodes demonstrate significantly stable behavior for TNT reduction in NaCl solutions and provide sufficient reproducibility with no surface fouling through prolonged voltammetric cycling. It is presumed that tin nanoparticles, which constitute the core, are electrochemically inactive towards TNT reduction, but Sn or SnO2 formed on the electrodes during TNT reduction may participate in this reaction as catalysts or carbon-modifying agents. The nitro-groups of TNT can be reduced irreversibly (via two possible paths) by three six-electron transfers, to 2,4,6-triaminotoluene, as follows from mass-spectrometric studies. The tin-carbon electrodes described herein may serve as amperometric sensors for the detection of trace TNT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)690-697
Number of pages8
JournalElectrochimica Acta
Issue number2
StatePublished - 30 Dec 2008


  • 2,4,6-Trinitrotoluene
  • Core-shell structures
  • Electrochemical reduction
  • Reaction schemes
  • Tin-carbon electrodes


Dive into the research topics of 'Electrochemical reduction of trinitrotoluene on core-shell tin-carbon electrodes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this