A voltaic cell is an electrochemical cell that can be used to measure the cell voltage generated by the substituents in a redox reaction. Two half-cells are contained within the voltaic cell, one for the oxidation and reduction reactions. The anode is the compartment in which oxidation occurs, with the cathode being the compartment where the reduction occurs. Each half cell is composed of a metal solid strip in solution and are connected by a salt bridge to complete the circuit. The voltmeter is connected to each metal strip to measure the cell voltage (E). Where this measured value is positive, it can be determined the redox reaction occurring is spontaneous. A spontaneous reaction indicates that the change in free energy (ΔG) has a negative value. Using the cell voltage (E), number of moles of electrons transferred in the reaction (n) and Faraday Constant (F), the exact value for the change in free energy can be determ...
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...ing the true temperature of the water bath in which the voltaic cell had been inserted. These inaccurate temperatures would have corresponded to inaccurate voltage readings. This error could have been avoided by careful laboratory practices, noting the positioning of the thermometer within the beaker.
This experiment included the utilization of electrochemical concepts in conjunction with mathematical manipulations allowed for the calculation of the changes in free energy, entropy and enthalpy. Graphing variables also allowed for the visual representation of the linear relationship between the change in free energy and temperature within the voltaic cell used in the laboratory. Voltaic cells are valuable not just in the chemistry lab, but in our everyday lives, as they are used in antennas, electric cars, and rechargeable batteries found in laptops and cellphones.
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