This experiment introduces the student to electrochemical cells.
An H-cell is used with a Zn/Zn2+ (aq) half-cell on the
right side as a reference. The student can deliver four different
solutions into the left half-cell, which contains a Pt electrode.
The voltmeter records the potential difference and also the
temperature of the cell. For each solution, the student records a
series of readings, averaging the fluctuations in voltage and
temperature due to noise. In two cases, the solution's composition
is known, so the student can calculate the reduction potential of
the half-cell and compare it with a literature value. In one case,
the composition is due to one of several possible unknowns assigned
randomly, and the student must identify the ion. In the fourth
case, the identity of the ion is known, but the concentration must
be calculated using the Nernst Equation. Activity considerations
are not discussed in this experiment.
- Study the design and function of an electrochemical cell.
- Be able to perform a series of measurements, averaging noise
fluctuations, and determine half-cell reduction potentials.
- Be able to identify an unknown ion from its measured reduction
potential using literature values.
- Be able to calculate the concentration of an ion from its
measured half-reaction potential at a given temperature using the
- Be able to answer questions involving possible sources of