Project #76597 - Chem discussions

Below are 3 different classmates discussion posts. Please respond to each separate post. You can add on to what they say and add examples if possible (my professor LOVES examples). Each response should be about a paragraph long. For each separate response please include ALL sources used in APA format.

 

Original discussion question: Describe the difference between a voltaic cell and an electrolytic cell.  Examples: need I say more?

 

Classmate 1:

 

Voltaic cells use a spontaneous chemical reaction in order to drive an electric current through an external circuit. 

An example would be the batteries in your TV remote, a spontaneous chemical reaction is used to push an electric current through an external circuit when you press a button on the remote, this allows for the buttons to change the channels or turn the volume up or down, etc...

These currents are not always spontaneous, in this case we would have a electrolytic cell, in which electrolysis is the driving force that promotes an oxidation-reduction reaction in which it would not occur on its own. An example would be the battery in your car, in this case you would need a positive and negative electrode, also a source of direct current, which would be the alternator supplying the charge. 

 

source: Silberberg, M. (2009). Principles of General Chemistry (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill

 

 

Classmate 2:

 

The difference between a voltaic cell and a electrolytic cell is actually very simple.

 

In a voltaic cell, the presence of the constituent parts of two half-cells electrically connected (a cathode and an anode) generates an electrical current through the continuous oxidation-reduction reaction taking place at the cathode (reduction) and anode (oxidation) and their resulting electron flow. In a voltaic cell, the word "spontaneous" describes the oxidation-reduction reaction because the reactions take place as a result of the cathode and anode material (copper and/or zinc for example) reacting in a solution of their ions.

 

In an electrolytic cell, the flow of electrons is dependent upon an external energy source, the external energy source acting like a catalyst to carry the reaction along in a system that would otherwise not have one. The parts of an electrolytic cell are similar to those of a voltaic cell in that there has to be a cathode, an anode, and some sort of electrolyte solution.

The oxidation-reduction reaction WILL NOT take place (non-spontaneous) without the application of an electrical current. 

 

A simplified way to compare a voltaic cell and electrolytic cell is in terms of cell potential. If a cell has a positive cell potential, the reaction in the half-cells are spontaneous, meaning voltaic cell. If the cell potential is negative, then it is an electrolytic cell.

 

Example:

voltaic cell: The classic copper cathode and the zinc anode, each in a saturated solution of their ions connected by a circuit. 

 

electrolytic cell: ANY sort of electro-plating process in which a charge is applied to a metal object that is to be "plated" by another metal. Electroplating requires many of the same parts as what one would find in a voltaic half-cell (an anode in ionic solution) and a cathode. The reduction reaction (the actual plating) is the transfer of ions from either the anode or the ions in solution to the cathode (the piece to be plated).

 

 

Classmate 3:

 

According to our text book an Electrolytic cell is an electrochemical cell in which an electric current drives an otherwise non spontaneous reaction.  On the other hand a voltaic cell, (also known as a galvanic cell) is an electrochemical cell in which a spontaneous reaction generates an electric current.  

 

With an electrolytic cell, it needs outside source of energy sort of like a battery  With a voltaic cell, the reactions occur without any help.  It converts chemical energy to electric energy.  

 

In an electrolytic cell, the electrons flow from positive (cathode) to negative (anode) while in a voltaic cell they flow from negative to positive.  

 

 

References:

 

Electrolytic Cells. (n.d.) Retrieved on July 14, 2015 from http://chemwiki.ucdavis.edu/Analytical_Chemistry/Electrochemistry/Electrolytic_Cells

 

General chemistry: Hybrid (10th ed., p. 629). Belmont, CA.: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning.

 

Electrolytic Cells. (n.d.) Retrieved on July 14, 2015 from http://www.sparknotes.com/chemistry/electrochemistry/electrolytic/section1.rhtml

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