If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

# Shorthand notation for galvanic/voltaic cells

Get a grip on Galvanic cells in this electrochemistry tutorial! You'll see how redox reactions generate electric currents, understand the functions of anodes and cathodes, and learn the shorthand notation for these cells. Created by Jay.

## Want to join the conversation?

• Could the shorthand notation be swapped around?
As in: Cu | Cu2+ || Zn2+ | Zn
Thx,
Clarissa
• No, the anode goes before the cathode in shorthand (). "A comes before C"
• Why does Zn release its electrons? If I put Zn, into a ZnSO4 aqueous solution what causes the Zn to release electrons?
• Copied the answer from a similar question by another user (answer came from Samer Bou Karroum) Since Copper is more electronegative than Zinc, it will attract those electrons from Zinc towards it. Zinc will lose its electrons to the more-electronegative-Copper (simply because the force of attraction of copper to electrons is greater).
The reaction continues due to the salt bride, which neutralizes the solutions, but stops when Zn or Cu are depleted (or when the salt bridge loses its components).
• At he says " we know that oxidation occurs at anode".
How do we know it?
• That's the definition: The anode is the electrode at which oxidation occurs.
• Isn't current opposite the flow of electrons?
• Yes it is. As you can see, the flow of current in general is from positive to negative. However, the flow of electron behaves differently due to its negative charge, which is attracted to the positive ones. Therefore, electron flow from negative to positive instead. This refers to the electromagnetism, interaction between electrically charged particles (where there is attraction between opposite charges). Flow of electron, for instance, is flow of charge.
• Not sure if this is a dumb question or not, but where did the sodium ions (that were shown in the salt bridge) come from? There was no sodium in either of the solutions so I'm a bit confused...
• I believe its just the composition of the salt bridge
• how to calculate the electrode potential of some given equation
• Ecell=Ereduction-Eoxidation....This can easily be understood by observing that the electrode potentials are always reduction potentials, so for oxidation potential...we are actually reversing its sign and adding (i.e. subtracting). Sal explained it much better in the previous video.
(1 vote)
• Could you also use H2O instead of ZnSO4?
• No. You need the SO4- to "motivate" the Zinc to become an ion. H2O is too covalent.
• What happens if there is no salt bridge?? Please tell me the answer
• Without the salt bridge, The zinc sulphate solution becomes more positive as it is losing a lot of electrons and the the copper sulphate solution becomes more negetive as it is gaining a lot of electrons. This causes electrons that normally get ejected from anode, to stop moving as the anode solution is more positive than the cathode solution.
Due to this the entire cell stops working in the absence of the salt bridge