To differentiate between electrolytic and electrochemical cell: Electrolytic and electrochemical cells are essential components of electrochemistry, a branch of chemistry that focuses on chemical reactions involving electricity. Electrolytic cells use an external power source to drive non-spontaneous chemical reactions. They consist of two electrodes (anode and cathode) submerged in an electrolyte solution. By applying an electric current, ions migrate to the electrodes, where they undergo oxidation at the anode and reduction at the cathode. On the other hand, electrochemical cells, such as galvanic or voltaic cells, generate electrical energy from spontaneous chemical reactions. They convert chemical energy into electrical energy through redox reactions, producing a flow of electrons from the anode to the cathode. Read further for more.
What is Electrolytic Cell
An electrolytic cell is a device that utilizes an external source of electrical energy to facilitate a non-spontaneous chemical reaction. It consists of two electrodes—an anode and a cathode—immersed in an electrolyte solution. When an electric current is applied through the cell, cations migrate towards the cathode, where they undergo reduction, while anions migrate toward the anode, where they undergo oxidation. This process allows for the separation and transformation of ions within the electrolyte. Electrolytic cells are employed in various applications, including electroplating, electrolysis of water, and industrial-scale production of chemicals, and they play a crucial role in electrolysis processes. The features of electrolytic cells are:
External power source: An electrolytic cell requires an external power source, such as a battery or power supply, to drive the non-spontaneous reaction.
Electrodes: It consists of two electrodes—an anode (positive electrode) and a cathode (negative electrode)—that are made of conductive materials, typically metal or graphite.
Electrolyte solution: The electrodes are immersed in an electrolyte solution, which contains ions that participate in the electrochemical reactions.
Non-spontaneous reactions: Electrolytic cells facilitate non-spontaneous chemical reactions, meaning reactions that do not occur naturally without external energy input.
Electrolysis: The process of electrolysis occurs in an electrolytic cell, where the external power source drives the migration and transformation of ions at the electrodes.
Reduction and oxidation: Reduction occurs at the cathode, where positively charged ions gain electrons, while oxidation occurs at the anode, where negatively charged ions lose electrons.
What is Electrochemical Cell
An electrochemical cell is a device that converts chemical energy into electrical energy through a spontaneous redox (reduction-oxidation) reaction. It consists of two electrodes—an anode and a cathode—submerged in an electrolyte solution. The anode undergoes oxidation, releasing electrons, while the cathode undergoes reduction, accepting those electrons. The movement of electrons through an external circuit generates an electric current. Electrochemical cells are classified into galvanic (voltaic) cells, which produce electrical energy, and electrolytic cells, which require an external power source. These cells find applications in batteries, fuel cells, corrosion protection, and various electrochemical processes, playing a pivotal role in powering electronic devices and industrial processes. The features of electrochemical cells are:
Spontaneous redox reactions: Electrochemical cells involve spontaneous oxidation-reduction (redox) reactions, where one electrode undergoes oxidation (loses electrons) and the other undergoes reduction (gains electrons).
Electrodes: The cell has two electrodes—an anode and a cathode. The anode is where oxidation occurs, while the cathode is where reduction occurs.
Electrolyte: An electrolyte solution is present, which contains ions that facilitate the movement of charge within the cell.
Electron flow: Electrons flow from the anode to the cathode through an external circuit, generating an electric current.
Chemical energy conversion: The cell converts chemical energy into electrical energy through the redox reaction.
Voltaic (galvanic) and electrolytic cells: Electrochemical cells can be classified into voltaic cells, which spontaneously generate electrical energy, and electrolytic cells, which require an external power source.
Differentiate Between Electrolytic and Electrochemical Cell
While both types of cells have similarities, the key distinction lies in the purpose and energy conversion process. Electrolytic cells require an external power source to drive non-spontaneous reactions, while electrochemical cells generate electrical energy from spontaneous redox reactions.
An electrolytic cell is a setup that utilizes an external power source to drive a non-spontaneous chemical reaction. It consists of two electrodes—an anode and a cathode—immersed in an electrolyte solution. When an electric current is passed through the cell, ions migrate towards the electrodes, where they undergo oxidation at the anode and reduction at the cathode.
In contrast, an electrochemical cell, such as a galvanic or voltaic cell, generates electrical energy from a spontaneous chemical reaction. It converts chemical energy into electrical energy through a redox reaction, producing a flow of electrons from the anode to the cathode. This flow of electrons can be harnessed for practical applications.