A galvanic cell consists of two half-cells, every containing a steel cathode immersed in a solution of the cations, connected via a salt bridge.

In your case, the two half-cells save a zinc electrode and also a copper electrode, respectively.

These electrodes are immersed in copper sulfate, in the instance of the copper electrode, and also zinc sulfate, in the instance of the zinc electrode.

When metals are placed in aqueous solution, they often tend to lose electrons to type cations, or positively fee ions. The propensity of a metal to lose electrons depends on the reactivity.


The more reactive a metal is, the simpler it will lose electrons. Top top the various other hand, metals that space not specifically reactive will certainly not often tend to shed electrons to form cations.

In her case, zinc is more reactive than copper, which way that that will lose electrons much more readily. The oxidation equilibria that govern this galvanic cell are

#Zn_((aq))^(2+) + 2e^(-) rightleftharpoons Zn_((s))#, #" "E^

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= "-0.76 V"#


#Cu_((aq))^(2+) + 2e^(-) rightleftharpoons Cu_((s))# #" "E^
= "+0.34 V"#

The standard electrode potentials, #E^
#"s, noted after the two equilibrium reaction tell girlfriend which varieties will be oxidized, i.e. The will lose electrons, and which will certainly be reduced, i.e. It will gain electrons.

The negative #E^
# because that zinc speak you that the equilibrium lies to the left, meaning which confirms that zinc is more reactive and will often tend to shed electrons to kind #Zn^(2+)# cations.

The hopeful #E^
# because that copper speak you that the equilibrium lies come the right, i beg your pardon again confirms that copper has tendency to hold on to its electrons and not kind #Cu^(2+)# ions as readily.

Therefore, when you connect these 2 half-cells, the copper will certainly oxidize zinc. Electrons will for this reason tavel v the cable from the zinc anode come the copper cathode.

As more solid zinc is oxidized to #Zn^(2+)#, much more electrons room being released v the wire. When on the cathode, these electrons will react with surrounding #Cu^(2+)# ion and kind solid copper.


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