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Batteries

A Battery in electrochemistry refers to an electrochemical cell with the capability of producing and storing electrical energy. The chemical reactions within and between the half-cells provide the energy needed for a functional battery. In a typical battery, one half-cell undergoes reduction, while the other undergoes oxidation – both combining their redox potentials to produce a voltage. The amount of volts that is actually produced is highly dependent on the strength of the reducing or oxidizing potential. Copper-Zinc electrochemical cells are common batteries producing a standard electrode potential of 1.1 V. This value can be calculated in the following way: Reducing half-cell: Cu2+(aq) + 2e- --> Cu(s) E = 0.34 V Zn(s) --> Zn2+(aq) + 2e- E = 0.76 V E = 0.34 + 0.76 = 1.1 V Theoretically, any redox pair may form a battery; however it is sometimes extremely difficult to couple an electrode with a given electrolyte. Thus, understanding the theory behind batteries is a crucial component in the study of electrochemistry.

Electrolysis of Water

I have used a battery and water treated with washing soda to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen in class. Can someone explain in simple terms what happens to change the water into two gases?