Problem: A 1M solution of Cu ( NO3 )2 is placed in a beaker with a strip of Cu metal. A 1 M solution of SnSO4 is placed in a second beaker with a strip of Sn metal. A salt bridge connects the two beakers, and wires to a voltmeter link the two metal electrodes.Which electrode serves as the anode, and which as the cathode?

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We’re being asked to determine which electrode serves as the anode, and which as the cathode for a Cu and Sn galvanic cell.


The half cell reactions for Cu and Sn (these values can be found in textbooks or the internet)

Cu 2+(aq) + 2e- → Cu(s)  E = 0.337 V
Sn 2+ (aq) + 2e- → Sn(s)  E = -0.136 V


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Problem Details

A 1M solution of Cu ( NO3 )2 is placed in a beaker with a strip of Cu metal. A 1 M solution of SnSO4 is placed in a second beaker with a strip of Sn metal. A salt bridge connects the two beakers, and wires to a voltmeter link the two metal electrodes.

Which electrode serves as the anode, and which as the cathode?

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What scientific concept do you need to know in order to solve this problem?

Our tutors have indicated that to solve this problem you will need to apply the Galvanic Cell concept. You can view video lessons to learn Galvanic Cell. Or if you need more Galvanic Cell practice, you can also practice Galvanic Cell practice problems.

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Based on our data, we think this problem is relevant for Professor Younes' class at HCC FL.