- Date: 1814
- a science that deals with the relation of electricity to chemical changes and with the interconversion of chemical and electrical energy
Electrochemistry is a branch of chemistry that studies chemical reactions which take place in a solution at the interface of an electron conductor (a metal or a semiconductor) and an ionic conductor (the electrolyte), and which involve electron transfer between the electrode and the electrolyte or species in solution.
If a chemical reaction is driven by an external applied voltage, as in electrolysis, or if a voltage is created by a chemical reaction as in a battery, it is an electrochemical reaction. In contrast, chemical reactions where electrons are transferred between molecules are called oxidation/reduction (redox) reactions. In general, electrochemistry deals with situations where oxidation and reduction reactions are separated in space or time, connected by an external electric circuit to understand each process.
There are various extremely important electrochemical processes in both nature and industry, like the coating of objects with metals or metal oxides through electrodeposition and the detection of alcohol in drunken drivers through the redox reaction of ethanol. The generation of chemical energy through photosynthesis is inherently an electrochemical process, as is production of metals like aluminum and titanium from their ores. Certain diabetes blood sugar meters measure the amount of glucose in the blood through its redox potential.
The nervous impulses in neurons are based on electric current generated by the movement of sodium and potassium ions into and out of cells, and certain animals like eels can generate a powerful voltage from certain cells that can disable much larger animals.]