Electrolytic vs. electrochemical vs. galvanic cells.

  • Thread starter Drteeth
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  • #1
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So my question is what is the difference between these cells? This always confuses me. I know that electrolytic cells are nonspontaneous and that their cathode is negative which means that electrons are going against their gradients here. I am also aware of the fact that a galvanic cells is spontaneous and that the cathode is positive, however, I was unsure if this is its own cell type or is it a type of electrochemical cell?

Thanks for clearing this confusion up for me!
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
symbolipoint
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Drteeth, you just answered your own question. What confuses you?
Electrolytic - The reaction needs energy to be put into the system from external source; otherwise the reaction does not happen.
Galvanic - the reaction happens because it WANTS to happen; no energy needs to be supplied from the outside.
 
  • #3
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**** ... i forgot that the anodes/cathodes are different charges, i was asked a bunch of questions on that on my final. eek!
 
  • #4
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Ok, I think I figured this out - both electrolytic and galvanic cells are electrochemical cells. It was really just the classifications that I wasnt getting...

Thanks for the help...
 
Last edited:
  • #5
In electrolytic cell, electrical energy is converted to chemical energy where as in galvanic cell, chemical energy is converted to electrical energy.
 

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