Main difference – Electrochemical cell vs Electrolytic Cell

Electrochemistry consists of the study of the motion of electron in systems where chemical processes take place. Here, chemistry reactions deserve to be supplied to generate an electrical existing or an electrical present can be supplied to facilitate a nonspontaneous chemistry reaction to occur. In both ways, the switch of electric energy right into chemical power or the opposite of that will certainly occur. The solution where this conversions take ar are well-known as cells or, more precisely, electrochemical cells. There space two types of electrochemical cells recognized as voltaic cells and electrolytic cells. The key difference in between electrochemical cell and also electrolytic cabinet is that electrochemical cabinet does no need any kind of external current for operation whereas electrolytic cells require external present to operate.

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Key locations Covered

1. What is Electrochemical Cell – Definition, Properties, just how it functions 2. What is Electrolytic Cell – Definition, Properties, how it functions 3. What is the Difference between Electrochemical Cell and Electrolytic Cell – compare of an essential Differences

Key Terms: Anode, Cathode, Electrochemical Cell, Electrolysis, Electrolytic Cell, Galvanic Cell, Oxidation, Reduction, Voltaic Cell


What is one Electrochemical Cell

An electrochemical cabinet is a system that can develop electrical power through spontaneous chemical reactions. The chemical reactions that are associated in this process are called redox reactions. Oxidization reactions take place through carrying of electrons in between chemical species. A redox reaction consists of two half-reactions: oxidation reaction and also reduction reaction. The oxidation reaction constantly releases electron to the system whereas the reduction reaction takes electrons from the system. Therefore, the 2 half-reactions occur simultaneously.

Electrochemical cell are uncovered in two types, together voltaic (galvanic) cells and also electrolytic cells. One electrochemical cabinet is composed of two fifty percent cells. The half-reactions occur in two fifty percent cells. The chemistry reactions that take ar in that cell cause the construct up of a potential difference in between two half cells.

A half-cell have to be written of one electrode and also an electrolyte. Therefore, a complete electrochemical cell is written of 2 electrodes and two electrolytes; sometimes, the two half cells may use the same electrolyte. If there are two various electrolytes used, then a salt bridge should be used in stimulate to keep the contact in between the electrolytes. The is excellent by make a i to deliver ions through the salt bridge. The electrons circulation from one-half cell to the various other through an outside circuit. The 2 electrodes are dubbed anode and cathode.

The oxidation and also reduction reactions take place in two electrodes separately. The oxidation reaction wake up in the anode conversely, the palliation reaction wake up in the cathode. Therefore, electron are created in the anode and also they move from anode to cathode with the outside circuit. The salt leg helps to preserve the device neutral (electrically) by transferring ions with it in order come balance the electrical charges.

Let’s take into consideration the following electrochemical cell.


Figure 1: Electrochemical Cell

Here, the anode is the Zn (Zinc) electrode and also the cathode is the Cu (Copper) electrode. The oxidation reaction occurs in the Zn electrode. There, the metallic Zn is oxidized into Zn+2 ions. The exit electrons room passed v the external wire. Developed Zn+2 ions room released into the solution. Therefore, Zn electrode will be dissolved with the time. The palliation reaction occurs close to the cathode. The cathode is a Cu electrode. There, the electrons comes from the exterior circuit room taken through the Cu2+ ions in the solution and also are decreased into Cu metal. Therefore, the mass of the Cu electrode will certainly be increased with time. The electron circulation through the outside wire deserve to be measured as the electrical current developed from the oxidization reaction. This is the typical structure of an electrochemical cell.


Reaction in the Anode (oxidation)

Zn(s) → Zn+2(aq) + 2e

Reaction in the Cathode (reduction)

Cu+2(aq) + 2e → Cu(s)

What is one Electrolytic Cell

An electrolytic cabinet is a form of electrochemical cell in which electrical energy can be supplied to cause a chemical reaction come occur. In various other words, the electric energy need to be offered from an external source. Climate a nonspontaneous reaction deserve to be initiated. Electrolytic cells space most commonly used for electrolysis the compounds.

An electrolytic cabinet is likewise composed the solid metals as electrodes. There are two electrodes connected to an exterior circuit. One electrode acts as the anode whereas various other one acts together the cathode. The oxidation reaction will take place in the anode and also the palliation reaction will occur in the cathode.

The external electric energy supply (from the battery associated to the two electrodes) administer an electron circulation through the cathode. These electrons then go into the electrolytic solution. Then, the cations in the solution gather around the cathode and also obtain electron that space coming v the cathode. Therefore, these cations are diminished at the cathode. The electron in the cathode loss anions in the solution. These anions migrate towards the anode. There, this anions release electrons and get oxidized. Therefore, the anode has a positive charge and cathode has actually a an unfavorable charge.

Let us consider the complying with example.


Figure 2: The Electrolysis the Copper Chloride Solution

In the above electrolytic cell, the battery provides electrons come the cathode and also Cu+2 ion gather around the cathode to take it the electrons from the cathode. Climate the Cu+2 ion are diminished to Cu metal and are deposit on the cathode. Climate Cl– ions move towards the anode and release the overfill electron they have. There, the oxidation the Cl– occurs creating Cl2(g).


Reaction in the Anode (oxidation)

2Cl–(aq) → Cl2(g) + 2e

Reaction in the Cathode (reduction)

Cu+2(aq) + 2e → Cu(s)

Difference between Electrochemical Cell and also Electrolytic Cell


Electrochemical Cell: one electrochemical cell is a device that can develop electrical power through spontaneous chemical reactions.

Electrolytic Cell: an electrolytic cabinet is a type of electrochemical cell where electrical energy can be provided to create a chemical reaction.

Energy Conversion

Electrochemical Cell: In electrochemical cell, chemical energy is converted into electric energy.

Electrolytic Cell: In electrolytic cell, electric energy is converted into chemical energy.

External Current

Electrochemical Cell: Electrochemical cells perform not require external electrical energy sources.

Electrolytic Cell: Electrolytic cells need external electric energy sources.

Chemical Reactions

Electrochemical Cell: In electrochemical cells, spontaneous chemical reactions take place.

Electrolytic Cell: In electrolytic cells, nonspontaneous chemistry reactions take it place.


Electrochemical Cell: In one electrochemical cell, the anode is an unfavorable and the cathode is positive.

Electrolytic Cell: In an electrolytic cell, the anode is positive and the cathode is negative.

Electron Movement

Electrochemical Cell: Electrons are passed indigenous anode to cathode in electrochemical cells.

Electrolytic Cell: Electrons room passed indigenous the battery to cathode and also then the electrons get in the anode with the electrolytic systems in electrolytic cells.

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An electrolytic cell is a kind of electrochemical cell. Therefore, the electrolytic cabinet is composed of every the materials that a typical electrochemical cabinet has. Both electrochemical cells and electrolytic cell involve the circulation that electrons v the system. However, in electrochemical cells, spontaneous chemical reactions take location whereas, nonspontaneous chemistry reactions take ar in electrolytic cells. This is the difference between electrochemical cell and electrolytic cell.


1.” Electrochemical cell.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 24 July 2017. Web. Obtainable here. 26 July 2017.  2.”Electrolytic Cells.” Chemistry LibreTexts. Libretexts, 21 July 2016. Web. Accessible here. 26 July 2017. 

Image Courtesy:

1. “Electrochemical cell” by Siyavula education and learning (CC by 2.0) via Flickr