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Chemistry notes

Redox + Cells
Oxidation and Reduction involves electron transfer. Oxidation is Loss of Electrons. Reduction is Gain of Electrons. For the electron transfer during a redox reaction we can construct a overall equation for the redox reaction once if we know the oxidation and reduction half equation. Cells + Half Cells An electrochemical cells creates energy from redox reactions. It controls the electron transfer to make electrical energy. This is the basis of most cells (a.k.a batteries) Half Cells consist of an element in two oxidation states, the simplest half cells are made from metal placed in a solution of its aqueous ions.

Types of Half Cells

Metal/Metal Ion Half Cells A simple electrochemical cell can be made by connecting two of these type of half cells but they must have different electrode potentials. One half cell will then release the electrons and one will gain, the difference in electrode potential is measured with a voltmeter Non-Metal/Non-Metal Ion Half Cells An example of one of these half cells is the hydrogen half cell where hydrogen gas, the non-metal, is bubbled through concentrated acid, which contains the metal ion H+. One problem with this type of half cell is there is no solid electrode to connect a wire too so to overcome this a platinum electrode is place in the aqueous solution at the interface where the gas and acid meet. Metal Ion/Metal Ion Half cells

This type of half cell consist of the same element in different oxidation states and are in aqueous form so again a platinum electrode has to be used.

Cell Potentials
Standard electrode potentials are the potential voltage of a half cell relative to the standard hydrogen electrode under standard conditions. Chemist can calculate cell potentials under standard conditions, they measure the cell against the know standard hydrogen half cell which is used as a reference to measure against with all other half cells. The hydrogen cell has a standard electrode potential of 0.00V. The standard electrode potential can be used to calculate the full cell potential and the feasibility. For example, A Cu cell has a standard electrode potential of +0.34V. A Zn half cell has a standard electrode potential of -0.76 but this is reversed as the species is oxidised so the standard electrode potential is in fact +0.76. The overall cell potential can be calculated by E reduction + E oxidation +0.34 + +0.76 = 1.10V

A positive value indicates the reaction may occur and the higher positive number the value is the higher likelihood that the cell is feasible. If the value is negative the reaction will not occur.

Modern Storage Cells

Electrochemical cells are a useful and economic way of storing energy and are sometime called storage cells, however the fuel cells disccussed up to yet are impractical and new cells have been designed that are convient and portable. Cells that are common today are Zn + C cells (dry cells). Alkaline batteries are an improved version of the above. Rechargeable batteies which can be used again once they have been used. Lead acid batteries the type used in cars batteries. Lithium batteries which are light weight and have high electrode potential.

There is one more type of cell but they are slightly different and these are fuel cells which are a type of electrochemical cells in which energy of the fuel cell is converted directly into electrical energy (a voltage).

Fuels Cells + the Hydrogen + Oxygen Fuel Cell

Inside a fuel cell, energy from the redox reaction between a fuel and oxygen is used to create a potential difference. Inside a hydrogen oxygen fuel cell hydrogen is the fuel and the overall equation for the reaction inside the cell is H2 + O = H2O. Looking more in depth at the cell, there is a positive and negative electrode, at the negative electrode, the hydrogen gas flows onto the electrode and H2 is split into two single atoms of hydrogen (2H). A catalyst inside the cell then splits the hydrogen atoms as is seen in the following equation. 2H = 2H+ + 2e- . The electrons form this reaction flow into the external circuit and the H+ ions migrate into the electrolyte . At the positive electrode the oxygen flows onto the electrode and is split from 02 into single atoms of oxygen (2O). These oxygen atoms then combine with 2H+ and 2e- as shown by the following equation 0 + 2H+ + 2e- = H20. This is the basis of the hydrogen fuel cell.

FCV stands for fuel cell vehicle. These are based on the hydrogen fuel cell. In fuel cell vehicle there is two ways of providing the hydrogen fuel either by gas or hydrogen rich fuels like methanol or ethanol. they are a better source of energy and are considered green as they create less pollution and CO2 emissions and also have greater energy efficiency.The only emission from fuel cells is H2O. There are 3 mains ways hydrogen could be stored in FCV As a liquid under pressure ADSORBED onto the surface of a solid ABSORBED inside a solid

Despite the advantages fuel cells are no viable due to some serious limitations which are listed below The safe storage and transport of hydrogen. Hazards of pressurised hydrogen. The limited life a adsorbers and absorbers. The finite life and high cost of fuel cells requiring regular replacement and disposal of old fuel cells containing toxic chemicals.