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Electrochemistry in organic (nonpolar) solvents

  1. Aug 17, 2013 #1
    Im not that familiar with electrochemistry.
    You have some liquid solution with some concentration of ions, a reference electrode and a sacrifical electrode. You apply a potential with some feedback to control the potential environment of the liquid in the cell.

    Can you do this with organic, nonpolar solvents? Does this change the kind of ions you use?
    Are there other considerations? Thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 17, 2013 #2


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    The FIRST requirement when doing electrochemistry of any kind is a conductive solution. Nonpolar solutions wouldn't be my first choice.
  4. Aug 17, 2013 #3
    I guess the question is whether it is Possible.
    Assume the system i want to do electrochemistry on is insoluble in polar solvent. If my electrochemical solution is polar then there is some hydrohpobic/hydrophilic interface that develops around my system, negating the effects of electrochemistry?

    CAN it be done with nonpolar solvents?
  5. Aug 17, 2013 #4
    There will need to be conductance, otherwise no current would flow and then you would not measure a potential difference (for potential-determining) or be able to undergo electrolysis. I think all solvents will have at least some conductance; it's just that water has particularly high conductance thanks to the hydrogen bonds which allow H+ and OH- to conduct very quickly (as they don't really have to flow, more just induce the next ion to take on the positive charge instead, carrying current that way).
  6. Aug 18, 2013 #5


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    Check papers by Ciszkowska & Stojek - like Z. Stojek, M. Ciszkowska, J. Osteryoung, Anal.Chem., 66(1994)1507-12. Self-enhancement of voltammetric waves of weak acids in the absence of supporting electrolyte. I believe they did more research later, not necessarily together.
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