How does an Electric Cell Work?
Electrochemical cells generate electrical energy through oxidation and reduction reactions. Each electrochemical cell features a circuit consisting of several components that allow for the flow of electrons. An electrochemical cell circuit includes an anode, cathode, electrolyte, salt bridge and external circuit. The anode and cathode are connected via the external circuit.
There are two main electrochemical cell types: voltaic cells, also known as galvanic cells, and electrolytic cells. Voltaic cells are the type of electrochemical cells that always used in batteries to generate electric currents. If an electrochemical cell is in voltaic mode, energy will be released at the same time.
Unlike voltaic cells, electrolytic cells use rather than generate electric currents. Chemical reactions do not occur spontaneously in electrolytic cells, so an electric current must be externally applied. Energy becomes absorbed inside the cell, classifying the reactions that occur within electrolytic cells as endothermic rather than exothermic.