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# Shorthand notation for galvanic/voltaic cells

Get a grip on Galvanic cells in this electrochemistry tutorial! You'll see how redox reactions generate electric currents, understand the functions of anodes and cathodes, and learn the shorthand notation for these cells. Created by Jay.

## Want to join the conversation?

• Could the shorthand notation be swapped around?
As in: Cu | Cu2+ || Zn2+ | Zn
Thx,
Clarissa
• No, the anode goes before the cathode in shorthand (). "A comes before C"
• Why does Zn release its electrons? If I put Zn, into a ZnSO4 aqueous solution what causes the Zn to release electrons?
• Copied the answer from a similar question by another user (answer came from Samer Bou Karroum) Since Copper is more electronegative than Zinc, it will attract those electrons from Zinc towards it. Zinc will lose its electrons to the more-electronegative-Copper (simply because the force of attraction of copper to electrons is greater).
The reaction continues due to the salt bride, which neutralizes the solutions, but stops when Zn or Cu are depleted (or when the salt bridge loses its components).
• At he says " we know that oxidation occurs at anode".
How do we know it?
• That's the definition: The anode is the electrode at which oxidation occurs.
• Isn't current opposite the flow of electrons?
• Yes it is. As you can see, the flow of current in general is from positive to negative. However, the flow of electron behaves differently due to its negative charge, which is attracted to the positive ones. Therefore, electron flow from negative to positive instead. This refers to the electromagnetism, interaction between electrically charged particles (where there is attraction between opposite charges). Flow of electron, for instance, is flow of charge.
• how to calculate the electrode potential of some given equation
• Ecell=Ereduction-Eoxidation....This can easily be understood by observing that the electrode potentials are always reduction potentials, so for oxidation potential...we are actually reversing its sign and adding (i.e. subtracting). Sal explained it much better in the previous video.
(1 vote)
• Could you also use H2O instead of ZnSO4?
• No. You need the SO4- to "motivate" the Zinc to become an ion. H2O is too covalent.
• Not sure if this is a dumb question or not, but where did the sodium ions (that were shown in the salt bridge) come from? There was no sodium in either of the solutions so I'm a bit confused...
(1 vote)
• I believe its just the composition of the salt bridge
• How do you know that Zn loses 2 electrons and Cu gains 2. What method is used to determine this when both are transition metals rather than group 1, 2 etc elements.
• Zinc is always 2+ as an ion while Copper is either going to be 1+ or 2+, 2+ being the more stable state. These are easier to remember than prove. However, if you want to go above and beyond you can remember stability trends in electronic configurations beyond just those of the octet and duet rule.