An electrochemical cell is a device that
converts chemical energy into electrical energy or
vice versa, when a chemical reaction is occurring
in the cell. Typically, it consists of two
metal electrodes immersed into an aqueous solution
(electrolyte ) with electrode reactions occurring
at the electrode-solution surfaces. Also known
colloquially as a battery. When the cell
is connected into a suitable circuit it produces a
current and delivers energy. In some cells the
chemical reactions can be reversed by using
another, stronger, source of emf to drive current
backwards through the cell and put energy back.
(See charging.) An example of such a reversible
battery is the 12 V car battery which consists of
six 2 V lead-acid cells.
Check out this website to see a nice diagram of
an electrochemical cell:
Electrolysis is the decomposition of a
chemical compound in solution into ions by the
action of passing an electric current through the
solution. In other words, the production of
chemical energy by passing an electric current
through a liquid. This process breaks a chemical
compound down into its elements by passing a
direct current through it. Electrolysis of water,
for example, produces hydrogen and oxygen.
Electrolysis is not an equilibrium process; in
fact, it is intentionally driven far from
equilibrium to cause as much breakdown of the
compound as possible. In electrolysis, some
atoms are oxidized, while others are reduced.
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