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Origin of electrolytic cell
First recorded in 1935–40
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for electrolytic cell
any device in which electrolysis occursSometimes shortened to: cell
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Science definitions for electrolytic cell
A device that contains two electrodes in contact with an electrolyte and that brings about a chemical reaction when connected to an outside source of electricity. The electrodes are made of metal or carbon, and when connected to direct current, one electrode becomes positively charged, and the other becomes negatively charged. This initiates the movement of ions in the electrolyte toward the electrodes: positive ions move toward the negative electrode and negative ions move toward the positive electrode. A chemical reaction then takes place at each electrode, with ions changing from positive to negative (or vice versa), or becoming neutralized. Electrolytic cells have many practical uses, including the recovery of pure metal from alloys, the plating of one metal with another, and the manufacture of chlorine and sodium hydroxide. Compare voltaic cell.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.