Difference Between Galvanic Cells And Electrolytic Cells

A galvanic cell is an electrochemical cell in which spontaneous redox processes occur allowing the continuous flow of electrons through the conductor, whereas, in an electrolytic cell, the redox reactions are influenced by an external source of current. In a galvanic cell, the chemical energy is converted to electric energy, but in an electrolytic cell, the electric energy is converted to chemical energy. Here, in the article, let us learn more differences between galvanic and electrolytic cell. Given below in a tabular column, the difference between electrolytic cells and Galvanic cells is listed neatly.

Galvanic Cells vs Electrolytic Cells

Galvanic Cells Electrolytic Cells
Spontaneous redox reactions convert the chemical energy to an electric energy Non-spontaneous redox reactions convert the electric energy to a chemical energy
Electric energy is generated by redox reactions Electric energy brings about the chemical reaction with the help of an external source
The cathode is the positive electrode and anode is the negative electrode The anode is the positive electrode and cathode is the negative electrode
The process of oxidation takes place at the anode and the reduction process occurs at the cathode Here, the oxidation process occurs at the cathode while the reduction process takes place at the anode
Half cells are set up in different containers and are connected through salt bridges Electrodes are kept in the same container in a molten or solution electrolyte
Application lies in Batteries Application lies in purifying copper and electroplating

From the above differences between galvanic cells and electrolytic cells, we can conclude that a galvanic cell produces electric current with the help of the chemical reactions that occur spontaneously in it, while an electrolytic cell does the opposite, that is, it brings about chemical reactions with the help of an electric current from an external source. At BYJU’S, learn more differences like the difference between enantiomers and diastereomers.

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