Electrochemistry and Electrochemical Engineering

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The science of electrochemistry was born at the end of the eighteenth century following intense interest in the production of electricity by animals such as the torpedo and the electric eel. The key phenomena were observed just at the turn of the century. Volta invented his pile in which chemical species were consumed with the production of electricity and a few months afterwards Nicholson and Carlisle used this electricity to decompose water into hydrogen and oxygen. Electrochemistry is the branch of physical chemistry that studies the relationship between electricity, as a measurable and quantitative phenomenon, and identifiable chemical change, with either electricity considered an outcome of a particular chemical change or vice versa. These reactions involve electric charges moving between electrodes and an electrolyte. Thus electrochemistry deals with the interaction between electrical energy and chemical change. Electrochemistry continues to find new applications in wider fields as well as providing scope for greater understanding of its fundamentals. Electrochemical Engineering sounds very much like chemical engineering, but the chemists, electro chemists, material scientists and whoever else comes into touch with technical electrochemical systems very soon gets the feeling, that chemical engineering wisdom will not get them very far in enhancing their understanding and helping them to solve their problems with technical electrochemical devices. Indeed not only the appearance of but also the physics and physical chemistry in electrochemical reactors - electrolyzers, batteries or fuel cells and others - are quite different from that of normal chemical reactors.

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Delve Publishing
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