Talk:Galvanic cell

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Mistakes Found[edit]

Does anybody notice that in the half ionic equation for the ionization of zinc in the cell, that should be:

           Zn → Zn+2 + 2e-

Zinc would lose electrons more readily than Copper as it has a higher position in the electronchemical series(E.C.S.).Narold 13:59, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Electrochemical potential[edit]

Can we get some info about the different voltages created by different types of metals? There must be some number for this. - Omegatron 19:07, Feb 11, 2005 (UTC)

See the table at standard electrode potential.

"Galvanic anodes are designed and selected to have a more "active" voltage (technically a more negative electrochemical potential) "

Yeah! that number.
math would be nice.

Few questions[edit]

"The Galvanic cell, named after Luigi Galvani, consists of two metals connected by an electrolyte which forms a salt bridge between the metals. It is also known as a voltaic cell and an electrochemical cell."

1. As far as I know, the galvanic cell contains 2 electrolytes.

Meaning that when the solutions are CuSO4 and ZnSO4, there would be both a copper electrolyte and a zinc one? As there is a copper electrode and a zinc electrode? The definition of electrolyte is not clear- here or on it's page. Loggie

2. I've never heard those two electrolytes being referred to as a salt bridge. Salt bridge is a replacement to the porous disk, the device that lets one to connect the two electrolytes without mixing.

Yes- a salt bridge allows ions to travel from one solution to another- it is not connected/ made out of metal, as is suggested. Loggie

3. Shouldn't the voltaic, galvanic and electrochemical cell articles be merged into one?

Are there slight differences between the three, or all they all names for the same item? Loggie
An electrochemical cell can mean a galvanic cell, or be a general term for galvanic and electrolytic cells. Basically, a galvanic cell generates an electromotive force through a spontaneous redox reaction, where electrolysis requires an external current before the reaction will occur. splintax (talk) 07:27, 23 May 2006 (UTC)


You guys are just not correct in the "Description" part of the Galvanic Cell:

At the Zn anode, an atom of the the metal electrode gives up two electrons, becomes ionized ( forms a positively-charged Zn cation, Zn+2 ), and goes into the electrolyte solution, where the new cation formed is balanced by a negatively-charged sulfate anion ( SO4-2 ) coming over through the porous plate (or the salt bridge).

At the same time, at the copper cathode, a positively-charged Cu cation ( Cu+2 ) in the electrolyte solution picks up the two electrons that came over in the wire from the Zn side of the cell at the surface of the Cu metal electrode. This converts the cation to a neutral Cu metal atom, which plates out onto the Cu electrode (Zn does NOT plate onto the copper cathode). Since a cation disappears from the Cu+2 electrolyte solution, and a new cation appears in the Zn+2 electrolyte solution, a sulfate anion ( SO4-2 ) can cross the salt bridge to balance the change in the positive charges in the two electrolyte solutions.

The statements in the first paragraph are not true. For every neutral Zn atom that dissolves in the ZnSO4 electrolyte, a Cu+2 cation from the CuSO4 electrolyte plates out onto the copper electrode. The two electrons given up from the Zn side of the cell travel through the wire, do useful work, then enter the Cu electrode and convert a Cu+2 cation from the electrolyte solution to a neutral Cu atom that sticks to the Cu electrode. At the same time, one SO4-2 anion moves through the salt bridge from the Cu side to the Zn side to balance the change in the number of cations in the two electrolyte solutions.

The picture, "Scheme Of A Galvanic Cell" should be changed: the right-pointing arrow and the words "Cation flow" should be removed.

The main point in a galvanic cell is that everything has to balance: the number of electrons given up and accepted has to be equal, the charge changes have to balance, and the anions on either side of the bridge have to balance.

Also, the number of electrons involved in the two half-reactions and the energy of those electrons (electrode potential) are two different things entirely. The potential (EMF or voltage) has to do with the nature of the two dissimilar metals; the number of electrons transferred have to do with how many electrons the metals normally lose or gain in chemical reactions.

Starting at "In this way the anode is consumed or corroded....", the rest of the statements in the section are correct.


In the section "Electric Potential Of A Galvanic Cell", the net reaction shown isn't correct. It should be:

           Cu+2 + Zn -> Cu + Zn+2

A suggestion:

Find a chemist to help you two write this topic.
Old_Chemist 10:33, 20 September 2005 (UTC)Alan Speigel (

Alan's observations make sense to me indeed, I simply corrected the following typo: " SO4+2 anion moves..." to " SO4-2 anion moves...".

One thing is unclear to me though, why is it the SO4-2 ion which crosses the porous separator leftwards to keep the electrolyte compartments neutral, couldn't it be a Zn+2 crossing rightwards? Michel jullian 15:57, 9 December 2005

IIRC, both happen. Sulphate ions move to the left, and zinc ions move to the right. splintax (talk) 07:28, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
Hmmmmm....not much of a "separator", then, is it? ("Porous", indeed!) So we have Alan Speigel saying zinc cations don't flow toward the cathode (to the right), and Splintax saying they do. No wonder I'm confused! 09:40, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

It may make more sense to change the diagram of the cell to one that is labeled in English, as this is the English wikipedia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Thisnamenowtaken (talkcontribs) 03:16, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

This issue of the Zn2+ crossing over (or not) is rather critical to the understanding of how the whole thing works. Some books also state this, but do not explain... Also, I'd expect SO4-2 if corssing in one direction to change the amount of matrial in each side, but this isn't mentioned - are H2SO4 moving "back" to counteract this? or maybe just H2++ ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:23, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

Further to Alan's remarks, in the section 'Cell Voltage' (cell EMF?) it says 'Thus, zinc metal will lose electrons to copper ions and develop a positive electrical charge.' This is quite misleading. My understanding is that zinc atoms leave electrons behind on the anode which thus becomes negative and go into solution as zinc ions. This happens even when there is no external circuit. david.brightly at (talk) 13:36, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

Again, in section 'Description' it says 'The cathode attracts cations, so has a negative charge when current is discharging' This too is misleading. When current is flowing through the external circuit there is no build-up of charge. When the cell is disconnected the copper cathode and the copper sulphate electrolyte reach an equilibrium state in which the cathode has given up some electrons to copper ions (which have 'plated out' onto the cathode). The cathode is thus somewhat depleted of electrons and is electrically positive and the copper sulphate elctrolyte has an excess of negative sulphate ions over positive copper ions. david.brightly at (talk) 10:40, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

Merge with Galvonic corrosion[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was no merge

For one thing, I'm not sure that Galvonic is the correct spelling so who's going to find it there. It's an orphan, it's short, and it would fit in nicely here. Waerloeg 09:26, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

  • Oppose - I'd move it to fix the spelling, but it's a distinct enough topic that it deserves a separate article, in my opinion. Dicklyon 17:19, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose Support - "galvonic" must die. --Wtshymanski 03:34, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
Galvonic will die, independent of this merge discussion; but please don't move it again manually, as that detaches the page from its history. Dicklyon 04:06, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
But there was no significant history - and if you were mad enough to type in "galvonic corrosion" and bypass the redirect you can see what little history there was. "Galvanic corrosion" is a different page with a different history. --Wtshymanski 04:09, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
OK, whatever; change it that way if you like, but then remove the move request, too. Dicklyon 04:18, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
  • While Wikipedia is not a democracy and anyone can edit and guidelines aren't binding and Dicklyon's argument "it's a distinct enough topic" is persuasive...Isn't less than a day too fast to kill merge tags? I like to do useful things before I forget about them and watchlists can remind me without needing to do something instantly. Waerloeg 05:11, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes, we were both overly hasty. Sorry. At this point there's no longer a clear consensus, so we should wait and see. Dicklyon 05:48, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Sufficiently distinct to merit separate articles. 09:30, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

not neccessarily two different metals[edit]

The following point was raised on the talk page for Electrolytic cell:

A galvanic cell could also use the same metal but with different ion concentrations in solution, or maybe even with only a difference in the solution medium (ionic strength, complexing agents, etc.)

--Spoon! 11:57, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

Clarification Request[edit]

If Zn+2 crosses the porous barrier rightwards, as was stated above, and as is indicated by the "Cation flow" arrow in the diagram, then wouldn't that cause the solution in the right half of the cell to become contaminated with Zinc Sulfate? Does that happen in actual practice?

If so, it would be helpful to state explicitly that it's the Zinc that disolves more quickly than the Copper in this configuration, and that it's this faster dissolution that produces the abundance of electrons at the Zinc anode, relative to the electrons produced at the more slowly dissolving Copper cathode. ( This IS correct, yes? ) When I first looked at this diagram I imagined that the Copper cathode would also (as the entry says all metals do) "become positive ions upon dissolving, and leave electrons behind", thus giving it a negative charge, just like the Zinc anode. It took me a while to figure out that even if that's so, it's the *relative* difference in the rates of electron "production" in each half-cell that gives rise to the current flow from anode to cathode. [ Edited by author on 16 March 2007 for concision only. ] 15:03, 2 March 2007 (UTC) & 09:10, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

The copper cathode doesn't dissolve; on the contrary, it grows. --Spoon! 11:46, 6 March 2007 (UTC)


This article contains errors. For example, the diagram is of a Daniel cell. There may be a difference between US usage and UK usage but, in my experience, a cell for producing electricity has always been called a Voltaic cell. Having read the articles for Alessandro Volta and Luigi Galvani I think the term Voltaic cell is much more appropriate. Biscuittin 17:29, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

Merge Corrosion with Galvanic Corrosion[edit]

I've taken a look at the article, and made some changes. One thigh I am wondering about is, can't we merge the Corrosion and Galvanic Corrosion sections? Slapsnot (talk) 18:15, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Unclear is galvani cell technical or methodical (who is the "inventor").[edit]

If Galvani cell is a methodological device, its inventor would be (albeit unknowingly of his invention's full potential) L.Galvani, if we are talking about technical implementation, inventor's label would be duely credited to A.Volta, am I correct? Right now, it is quite impossible to credit this to either of them, can we finally draw somehow a line between Voltaic and Galvanic cell (or merge them for good)??

on the basis of the type of galvanic[edit]

the previous comment is correct.but i think we should first of all consider the reactivity of ions in the soluton with each other and with the electrodes.should the ions in the solution react with one another and with the electrodes, a salt bridge must be used. should the ions not reat with one another or react with any of the electrodes materials, a cell with a commone electrolyte may ne used. and should the ions not react with each other, but react with any of the electrode materials,a cell with a liquid junction may be used.since in this case the ions do not react with each other, but cu-2+ can react with the zn material, hence i think its advisable to use a cell with a liquid junction and not use a salt bridge. one other reason is that cells with a salt bridge are far to expensive that the other cells. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:35, 17 May 2012 (UTC)

"Tidying" edit[edit]

I have reverted this edit which had the edit summary "tidy". It was anything but; placing display formulae in running text makes a mess of the rendering and causes formulae on consecutive lines to overlap. It is also deprecated for accessibility reasons. A number of other things were changed which are largely a matter of editorial preference and therefore gratuitous. As for moving some of the links into the See also section and then templating it for too many links is just perverse.

Sorry for the multiple edits in the history, I was trying (unsuccessfully) to avoid having to manually redo later edits. SpinningSpark 18:08, 12 December 2012 (UTC)