I've pored over many articles on electrochemical cells, and I understand that on the oxidation side of a zinc-copper Daniell cell, the anode is highly negatively charged because zinc participates in oxidation and loses electrons as the ions go into the zinc sulfate.

So since the anode is rich in free electrons, is it possible to take an electrically neutral, large conductor (a metallic sphere for example), touch it to the negative terminal of the battery so that the free electrons will distribute themselves over its surface, discharge the sphere, and repeat this until the negative terminal is neutralized?

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    $\begingroup$ That's possible, but you will need awfully many large metallic spheres. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Nov 20 '18 at 18:56
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    $\begingroup$ "the anode is highly negatively charged" This statement is false. Even a small build of excess charge would be heavily disfavored due to magnitude of Columbic forces. The negative sign is not the charge. It is the sign of the relative potential. $\endgroup$ – Zhe Nov 20 '18 at 20:02
  • $\begingroup$ The anode is highly negatively charged; more negative than the cathode which has less negative charge. $\endgroup$ – delimiter Nov 20 '18 at 20:33
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    $\begingroup$ Neither electrode can be "highly" charged. They will accumulate charge until the resulting voltage is sufficient to oppose the redox reactions, at which point no further charge is produced. Thus, only a tiny amount of charge can be stored in this manner and only a minute amount of the cell will be depleted in each cycle. $\endgroup$ – Michael DM Dryden Nov 20 '18 at 21:20

Yes, this is possible, you have effectively described using a battery to charge a very weak capacitor, then discharging the capacitor. The charge stored will be minimal (possibly immeasurable), pico-coulombs or less and the number of cycles to fully discharge then battery may be on the order of billions or trillions, but in theory the process described is possible (more properly: plausible).


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