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March 28, 2017

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Why is the sign for cathode positve and anode is negative in the galvanic cell?

  • Chemistry - ,

    Many students are taught through grade school and into high school that the anode is positive and the cathode is negative. I was too. Imagine my surprise when I learned that isn't always true. The answer to your question is in the definition. The definition is NOT about the polarity of the electrodes. The definition: Oxidation occurs at the anode. Oxidation is the loss of electrons. So in galvanic cells, the negative electrode is the anode. In electrolysis cells, the anode is the positive electrode.

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