Question by : Give the sign of the electrodoes and the reaction that occurs at each for both voltaic and electrolytic cells.?
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Answer by pisgahchemist
Remember this: “A red cat ate an ox” (A pisgahchemist original)
REDuction occurs at the CATthode, OXidation occurs at the ANode
This is true regardless of the direction of flow of electrons, in other words, whether it is electrolytic or voltaic (galvanic).
The word “anode” (from the Greek for “the way in”) was developed for Michael Faraday to describe the electrode where the conventional current came from as it entered the substance to be electrolyzed.
The word “cathode” was also developed for Faraday and means “the way out” and was used to describe the electrode where the conventional current left the substance being electrolyzed.
Conventional current is the hypothetical flow of positive charge and is the opposite of electron flow.
Anions were defined as the ions that were attracted to the anode in an electrolytic cell. Cations were defined as the ions attracted to the cathode in an electrolytic cell.
The signs of the anode and cathode can be tricky. In an electrolytic cell a voltage is applied to the electrodes. The positive side of the power supply is attached to the anode, and the negative side to the cathode. In a voltaic cell, a “battery”, the positive electrode is the cathode and the negative electrode is the anode.
The best way to think of anode and cathode is in terms of oxidation and reduction. That works regardless of the electron flow direction.
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