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Electrolytic cell

From Academic Kids

Electrolytic cells are composed of an electrolyte (usually water or another solvent capable of dissolving various ions of interest), a cathode and an anode.

An Electrolytic cell is powered by electricity to produce a change in the chemicals in the cell, providing the energy to convert the chemicals into ones with higher energy storage. In contrast, a Galvanic Cell (also known as a voltaic cell, voltaic pile or an electrochemical cell) uses the chemical energy of the high-energy chemicals reacting to generate electricity - the opposite of the electrolytic cell.

To reflect this difference, the Anode and Cathode in the two types of cell have different polarities assigned to them.

In an electrolytic cell, the positively charged anode is paired with the positively charged end of a voltaic cell, and the negative cathode is paired with the negative end of a voltaic cell, thus reversing the flow of electrons from the standard pathway of negative to positive (such as in a voltaic cell) to positive to negative. This is important, because it allows the cell to be recharged and able to function again.

See also: Electrolysis, Galvanic CellTemplate:Chem-stub

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