Galvanic Cell

Because galvanic cells can be self-contained and portable, they can be used as batteries and fuel cells. A battery (storage cell) is a galvanic cell (or a series of galvanic cells) that contains all the reactants needed to produce electricity. In contrast, a fuel cell is a galvanic cell that requires a constant external supply of one or more reactants to generate electricity.

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Detailed Description for Galvanic Cell

     A galvanic cell is an electrochemical cell that uses the transfer of electrons in redox reactions to supply an electric current. This cell is driven by a spontaneous chemical reaction that produces an electric current through an outside circuit. Galvanic cell reactions supply energy, which is used to perform work. For this reason, galvanic cells are commonly used as batteries. In the real world, the word battery has come to include a single galvanic cell, but a proper battery consists of multiple cells.

     A galvanic cell consists of at least two half cells, a reduction cell and an oxidation cell. Chemical reactions in the two half cells provide the energy for the galvanic cell operations. Many galvanic cells are of commercial importance. These include dry cells, mercury cells, rechargeable Ni-Cd batteries, fuel cells and lead storage cells. A common galvanic cell is the Daniell cell.



        This arrangement is called a galvanic cell. A typical cell might consist of two pieces of metal, one zinc and the other copper, each immersed each in a solution containing a dissolved salt of the corresponding metal. The two solutions are separated by a porous barrier that prevents them from rapidly mixing but allows ions to diffuse through.




    If we connect the zinc and copper by means of a metallic conductor, the excess electrons that remain when Zn2+ ions emerge from the zinc in the left cell would be able to flow through the external circuit and into the right electrode, where they could be delivered to the Cu2+ ions which become "discharged", that is, converted into Cu atoms at the surface of the copper electrode. The net reaction is the oxidation of zinc by copper(II) ions:     Zn(s) + Cu2+ → Zn2+ + Cu(s)


     left electrode:  

     Zn(s) → Zn2+ + 2e–    ------>oxidation


    right electrode:  

    Cu2+ + 2e–→ Cu(s)    ----->reduction

                            Galvanic corrosion is a process that degrades metals electrochemically. This corrosion occurs when two dissimilar metals are placed in contact with each other in the presence of an electrolyte, such as salt water, forming a galvanic cell. A cell can also be formed if the same metal is exposed to two different concentrations of electrolyte. The resulting electrochemical potential then develops an electric current that electrolytically dissolves the less noble material.

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