If one has two concentric stainless steel tubes with the small one being 1/2 the circumference and inside the other, and KOH for the electrolyte, then given the different surface areas between the electrodes, will the cell perform the same if the applied voltage is reversed, or will one way conduct better than the other at low overvolt potential and would same be true at a high overvolt potential.

I suspect that one rate limiting effect arises from hydrogen production being twice the volume of oxygen, that this particular effect would more greatly limit high ionic currents due to more restricted access to the electrode surface area. Is this so, and are there other rate limitting effects that may cause a performance difference between the current direction between two different sized electrodes.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Your assumption is reasonable: an electrolytic cell becomes "polarized" from gas buildup on an electrode surface, and the greater amount of hydrogen, as opposed to oxygen, on the smaller electrode would polarize it more quickly. There also might be secondary effects due to greater current density. [Dissimilar metals, such as Al and Cu, can be used to make an electrolytic rectifier.] $\endgroup$ Sep 10 at 19:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.