Problem: You construct an electrochemical cell in which you want to oxidize Ag to Ag + and reduce Ni2+ to Ni. At standard conditions, what type of cell is this, and will this reaction be spontaneous?A. Electrolytic, non-spontaneous.B. Electrolytic, spontaneous.C. Voltaic, non-spontaneous.D. Voltaic, spontaneous.

FREE Expert Solution

We are asked to identify what type of cell is this and if this reaction will be spontaneous.


Voltaic cell (Galvanic Cell)

  • Spontaneous
  • responsible for the production of electrical energy
  • electrons are supplied by the species getting oxidized
  •  reaction at the anode is oxidation and that at the cathode is reduction


Electrolytic cell

  • non-spontaneous
  • electrical energy has to be supplied to initiate the reaction
  • external battery supplies the electrons
  • reaction at the anode is oxidation and that at the cathode is reduction


Recall that the greater the E°cell of a redox reaction, the more likely the reaction will occur (more spontaneous reaction)

E°cell > 0 → spontaneous in the forward direction
E°cell < 0 → nonspontaneous in the forward direction


We go through the following steps to identify the cell: 

Step 1. Gather reduction potentials

Step 2. Identify the oxidation and reduction half-reactions

Step 3. Calculate cell potential

Step 4. Identify the type of cell


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Problem Details

You construct an electrochemical cell in which you want to oxidize Ag to Ag and reduce Ni2+ to Ni. At standard conditions, what type of cell is this, and will this reaction be spontaneous?

A. Electrolytic, non-spontaneous.

B. Electrolytic, spontaneous.

C. Voltaic, non-spontaneous.

D. Voltaic, spontaneous.

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