What are Electrochemical Cells?
Devices that are capable of converting chemical energy from chemical reactions into electrical energy are called electrochemical cells. These cells are vital in the day to day lives of humans as they power many small electrical appliances. This article aims to help you better understand what electrochemical cells are and their types.
Electrolytic cells are electrochemical cells that are used in the decomposition of various chemical compounds. This is done by supplying an electric current to the cell in order to drive a non-spontaneous redox reaction.
Galvanic cells are electrochemical cells that produce an electric current from spontaneous redox reactions occurring inside the cells. They are made up of two metals that are connected by a salt bridge. Typical salt bridges contain many p block elements such as Nitrogen, Oxygen, Sulfur, etc. these cells can also be referred to as voltaic cells (named after Alessandro Volta).
These cells are more commonly referred to as use-and-throw cells since they cannot be recharged once the cell reaction is exhausted. The electrochemical reactions in these cells are not reversible in nature. Once the reactants required to undergo reaction in order to generate electricity are used up, the cell is rendered useless and must be disposed of.
Secondary cells are also referred to as rechargeable batteries. These cells can function as both galvanic cells as well as electrolytic cells. The cell reactions in these types of cells are reversible in nature, hence allowing for charging and discharging cycles.
Fuel cells are basically electrochemical cells that have the ability to convert the chemical energy obtained from a certain fuel source into electrical energy. This is done via the electrochemical reaction between the hydrogen fuel and an oxidizing agent or even oxygen. Fuel cells were first invented in the year 1838 but were only used commercially about a century later in NASA space programmes.
Thus, the common terminology used to describe electrochemical cells are mentioned in the subtopics discussed above. To learn more about electricity, Subscribe to the BYJU’S youtube channel and enable notifications: