History of Chemistry


What is electrochemistry and how was it discovered?

Modern electrochemistry studies reactions that take place at the interface of an electronic conductor and a source of charged ions (possibly a liquid). The development of electrochemistry began with studies on magnetism, electric charge, and conductivity. The earliest experiments typically focused on questions surrounding properties of materials; for example, which materials can be magnetized and which materials can be charged? As early as the 1750s scientists had discovered that electrical signals were important to human life and were using them to treat medical issues such as muscle spasms. In the late 1700s, Charles Coulomb developed laws describing the interactions of charged bodies, which are still used widely today and taught in any introductory course on electricity and magnetism.

The first electrochemical cells were developed during the 1800s. Electrochemical cells are arrangements of electrodes and sources of ions that either generate electric current from a chemical reaction, or alternatively, use electricity to drive a chemical reaction. Today these cells find applications in daily life, such as in the batteries that power your car or cell phone. Today electrochemistry still constitutes an important field of research and is one that will likely continue to lead to the development of new products and technologies.


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