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Electrolytic cell working

  1. Mar 30, 2015 #1
    While I was reading my notes on Electrochemistry, I found a cell attached to the main circuit in an electrolytic cell which perform electrolysis. What does this cell do there ? Does it create polarity on the platinum electrodes to attract the ions in the solution for oxidation or reduction or does it actually participate in electrolysis by supplying electrons. If the former is the case, then why do we write EFFICIENCY OF AN ELECTROLYTIC CELL = ( Charge Used) / ( Charged passed ) because only external cell has the capability to pass charges through the circuit.

    I mean what does the cell do there..... ???
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 30, 2015 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    The battery drives the electrolytic cell by forcing the decomposition reaction: it supplies electrons at one electrode, and accepts an equal number at the other. The battery supplies the energy to cause a reaction which would not occur spontaneously.

    For example, consider the electrolytic decomposition of water into H2 and O2 gases.
    Cathode (reduction): 2 H2O(l) + 2e− → H2(g) + 2 OH−(aq)
    Anode (oxidation): 4 OH−(aq) → O2(g) + 2 H2O(l) + 4 e−

    For more details, http://www.chem.uiuc.edu/clcwebsite/elec.html [Broken]
    or search google or youtube.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
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