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I am performing a combined chronoamperometry/chronopotentiometry experiment in a solution of 0.1 M NaOH and with Ag/AgCl reference electrodes. I was initially told by someone that typically Ag/AgCl reference electrodes are used with most applications because they work well enough and are inexpensive. However, I haven't been able to get consistent or even normal-looking results yet. After doing some more searching, I've found some information that Ag/AgCl electrodes are not good for basic solutions. They recommend Hg/HgO electrodes instead.

I trust this is true, but could my choice of electrode be enough to cause such sporadic, inconsistent and unexpected data? Because Hg/HgO electrodes are much more expensive, I'm hesitant to just label that as the root of my problem if it wouldn't change the results a whole lot. Also, I would expect the main effects on my results to increase with time (i.e. the more tests I run, the more the electrode is affected by the solution), but my results have been consistently inconsistent from the beginning, despite trying to mimic other's parameters of similar tests.

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  • $\begingroup$ Could you give more information about the Ag/AgCl electrode you are using? What is the frit on the tip? Porous glass frits like Vycor are known to get damaged very quickly in basic solutions. $\endgroup$ – Burak Ulgut Feb 9 '18 at 6:12

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