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Chemistry LibreTexts

9: Electrochemistry

  • Page ID
    142290
    • 9.1: Oxidation-Reduction Reactions
      Oxidation–reduction reactions are balanced by separating the overall chemical equation into an oxidation equation and a reduction equation. In oxidation–reduction reactions, electrons are transferred from one substance or atom to another. We can balance oxidation–reduction reactions in solution using the oxidation state method, in which the overall reaction is separated into an oxidation equation and a reduction equation. The outcome of these reactions can be predicted using the activity series.
    • 9.2: Standard Reduction Potentials
      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).
    • 9.3 Cell Potential, Gibbs 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°.
    • 9.4: Batteries: Using Chemistry to Generate Electricity
      Commercial batteries are galvanic cells that use solids or pastes as reactants to maximize the electrical output per unit mass. A battery is a contained unit that produces electricity, whereas a fuel cell is a galvanic cell that requires a constant external supply of one or more reactants to generate electricity. One type of battery is the Leclanché dry cell, which contains an electrolyte in an acidic water-based paste.
    • 9.5 Driving Reactant-Favored Reactions Using Electricity
      In electrolysis, an external voltage is applied to drive a nonspontaneous reaction. Electrolysis can also be used to produce hydrogen and oxygen gas  from water. Electroplating is the process by which a second metal is deposited on a metal surface. The amount of material consumed or produced in a reaction can be calculated from the stoichiometry of an electrolysis reaction, the amount of current passed, and the duration of the electrolytic reaction.
    • 9.6 Undesirable Redox Reactions
      Corrosion is a galvanic process that can be prevented using cathodic protection. The deterioration of metals through oxidation is a galvanic process called corrosion. Protective coatings consist of a second metal that is more difficult to oxidize than the metal being protected. Alternatively, a more easily oxidized metal can be applied to a metal surface, thus providing cathodic protection of the surface. A thin layer of zinc protects galvanized steel. Sacrificial electrodes can also be attached