Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version


Document Type



ChemElectroChem 2024, 11, e202300659.


Open access.


Strain engineering is an effective strategy in modulating activity of electrocatalysts, but the effect of strain on electrochemical stability of catalysts remains poorly understood. In this work, we combine ab initio thermodynamics and molecular dynamics simulations to examine the role of compressive and tensile strain in the interplay between activity and stability of metal oxides considering RuO2 and IrO2 as exemplary catalysts. We reveal that although compressive strain leads to improved activity via the adsorbate-evolving mechanism of the oxygen evolution reaction, even small strains should substantially destabilize these catalysts promoting dissolution of transition metals. In contrast, our results show that the metal oxides requiring tensile strain to promote their catalytic activity may also benefit from enhanced stability. Importantly, we also find that the detrimental effect of strain on electrochemical stability of atomically flat surfaces could be even greater than that of surface defects.