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Chemistry (Year 12) - Redox

Kiara Hemetsberger

Galvanic Cells

Galvanic cells are those cells that produce electrical energy from a spontaneous reaction. The critical components of a galvanic cell include the anode, cathode, external circuit, electrolyte and salt bridge.

The voltage produced by the galvanic cell will be equal to the sum of the two half-reaction voltages.

Electrolytic Cells

Electrolytic cells are those in which an external voltage is applied to provide the energy needed for a non-spontaneous redox reaction to occur.

There are a few key differences between electrolytic and galvanic cells:

  1. An external voltage is applied to drive a non-spontaneous redox reaction to occur. The result is that electrical energy is converted to chemical potential energy

  2. The anode in an electrolytic cell is positive, and the cathode is negative

  3. Electrolytic cells contain only one cell. This also means there is no salt bridge as the anode and cathode are dipped in the same electrolyte solution

Oxidation still occurs at the anode, and reduction still occurs at the cathode in an electrolytic cell.

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