The maximum work done by a voltaic cell is given by -nFE. Why the negative sign? From what I know, a battery does positive work on the load attached to it
closed as off-topic by Pritt Balagopal, bon, Mithoron, Tyberius, M.A.R. Sep 27 '17 at 16:00
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It is negative because it's the work done by the system on the surroundings. Here our system is taken as the cell.
Maximum work is also taken as the change in Gibbs free energy $(ΔG)$.