Electrochemistry Summary Discussion 10.docx - Jessica...

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Jessica AlbatarsehStefanie SchwabApril 25, 2017 Electrochemistry Summary Discussion 10Introduction Electrochemistry is a section of chemistry that specifically focuses on oxidation-reduction reactions, or redox reactions. Electrical energy is used in electrolytic cells so that a chemical change can occur (Briones). Voltaic cells are driven by spontaneous chemical reactions that produce an electric current through an outside circuit. Cells like these are the basis for the batteries that fuel society. The reverse reaction is non-spontaneous and therefore requires an electrical current to pass through the system (Briones). This reaction occurs in electrolytic cells. An example is the electrolysis of water, electrical energy is used to split the water back into its original elements (Briones). Electrolysis is used to drive redox reactions, it does so by driving the electric current through the system, therefore the reaction is non-spontaneous. The opposite can be said for voltaic cells, spontaneous chemical reactions can be used to do electrical work, which is why voltaic cells are commonly referred to as batteries (Briones). Redox reactions occur when two substances undergo an electron transfer. The one that loses electrons is said to be oxidized, the substance that gains are known to be reduced. Electrolytic cells, like voltaic cells, are composed of two half cells (Briones). One is a reduction half-cell, while the other is an oxidation half-cell. The direction of the electron flow in electrolytic cells may be reversed from the spontaneous electron flow in voltaic cells, but the cathode and anode definitions remain unchanged (Briones). Reduction takes place at the cathode and oxidation takes place at the anode, therefore when the system is reversed the sign of the cell potential has been reversed (Briones).

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