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10: Electrochemistry

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    • 10.1: Review: Redox Reactions
      Oxidation state is a useful tool for keeping track of electron transfers. It is most commonly used in dealing with metals and especially with transition metals. Oxidation signifies a loss of electrons and reduction signifies a gain of electrons. Balancing redox reactions is an important step that changes in neutral, basic, and acidic solutions.
    • 10.2: Voltaic Cells
      A galvanic (voltaic) cell uses the energy released during a spontaneous redox reaction to generate electricity, whereas an electrolytic cell consumes electrical energy from an external source to force a reaction to occur. Electrochemistry is the study of the relationship between electricity and chemical reactions. The oxidation–reduction reaction that occurs during an electrochemical process consists of two half-reactions, one representing the oxidation process and one the reduction process.
    • 10.3: Electrochemical Potential
      Redox reactions can be balanced using the half-reaction method. The standard cell potential is a measure of the driving force for the reaction. \(E°_{cell} = E°_{cathode} − E°_{anode} \] The flow of electrons in an electrochemical cell depends on the identity of the reacting substances, the difference in the potential energy of their valence electrons, and their concentrations. The potential of the cell under standard conditions is called the standard cell potential (E°cell).
    • 10.4: Potential, Free Energy, and Equilibrium
      A coulomb (C) relates electrical potential, expressed in volts, and energy, expressed in joules. The faraday (F) is Avogadro’s number multiplied by the charge on an electron and corresponds to the charge on 1 mol of electrons.  Spontaneous redox reactions have a negative ΔG and therefore a positive Ecell. Because the equilibrium constant K is related to ΔG, E°cell and K are also related. Large equilibrium constants correspond to large positive values of E°.
    • 10.5: The Nernst Equation
      The Nernst equation allows us to determine the spontaneous direction of any redox reaction under any reaction conditions from values of the relevant standard electrode potentials. Concentration cells consist of anode and cathode compartments that are identical except for the concentrations of the reactant. Because ΔG = 0 at equilibrium, the measured potential of a concentration cell is zero at equilibrium (the concentrations are equal).
    • 10.6: Applications of Electrochemistry
      Batteries are galvanic cells, or a series of cells, that produce an electric current. When cells are combined into batteries, the potential of the battery is an integer multiple of the potential of a single cell. There are two basic types of batteries: primary and secondary. Primary batteries are “single use” and cannot be recharged. Dry cells and (most) alkaline batteries are examples of primary batteries. The second type is rechargeable and is called a secondary battery.

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