Casestudy Essay

3943 Words Sep 17th, 2013 16 Pages
Electrochemistry is a branch of chemistry that studies chemical reactions which take place in a solution at the interface of an electron conductor (the electrode: a metal or a semiconductor) and an ionic conductor (the electrolyte). These reactions involve electron transfer between the electrode and the electrolyte or species in solution.
If a chemical reaction is driven by an externally applied voltage, as in electrolysis, or if a voltage is created by a chemical reaction as in a battery, it is an electrochemical reaction. In contrast, chemical reactions where electrons are transferred between molecules are called oxidation-reduction (redox) reactions. In general, electrochemistry deals with situations where redox
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The loss of electrons from an atom or molecule is called oxidation, and the gain of electrons is reduction. This can be easily remembered through the use of mnemonic devices. Two of the most popular are "OIL RIG" (Oxidation Is Loss, Reduction Is Gain) and "LEO" says "GER" (Lose Electrons: Oxidation, Gain Electrons: Reduction). Oxidation and reduction always occur in a paired fashion such that one species is oxidized when another is reduced. For cases where electrons are shared (covalent bonds) between atoms with large differences in electronegativity, the electron is assigned to the atom with the largest electronegativity in determining the oxidation state.
The atom or molecule which loses electrons is known as the reducing agent, or reductant, and the substance which accepts the electrons is called the oxidizing agent, or oxidant. Thus, the oxidizing agent is always being reduced in a reaction; the reducing agent is always being oxidized. Oxygen is a common oxidizing agent, but not the only one. Despite the name, an oxidation reaction does not necessarily need to involve oxygen. In fact, a fire can be fed by an oxidant other than oxygen; fluorine fires are often unquenchable, as fluorine is an even stronger oxidant (it has a higher electronegativity and thus accepts electrons even better) than oxygen.
For reactions involving oxygen, the gain of oxygen implies the oxidation of the atom or molecule to which the oxygen

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