Electron movement in batteries

Discussion in 'General Science' started by Jim Hunter, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. Jim Hunter

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 27, 2013
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    On this page, these statements seem confusing to me:
    "This flow of electrons into into the lead dioxide (PbO2) electrode, gives it a positive electrical charge." (Also note that into is repeated)
    "The flow of electrons out of the lead electrode gives it a negative electrical charge. These reactions are shown diagrammitically below:" (also note diagrammatically is misspelled)
    Would it be more correct to say that the tendency of the electrons to flow into the lead oxide (PbO2) electrode gives it a positive electrical charge? (And vice versa for the negative electrode?)

    Also, the diagrams of the charging and discharging batteries show electrons flowing through the electrolyte solution from one electrode to the other, which, to my neophyte understanding, is not what is actually happening.

    Forgive me if any of the above is due to my lack of understanding. I wasn't sure whether to post this here or not.
     
  2. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
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    Electrons cannot 'move' inside the battery without a chemical reaction taking place. Think of the 'discharge' chemical reaction as the taxi and the electrons as the passengers. The taxi goes back and forth shuttling electrons. The electrons do not move between the plates through the electrolyte. They must be 'carried' across this gap by IONS.

    Electrons DO move in the electrolyte solution when the battery is being charged, and the reversed flow of electrons causes a 'charge' chemical reaction. This chemical reaction requires energy to be put into the system. The chemical compounds produced are actually storing the energy input into the battery in the form of electrons.
     
  3. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    Generally technical discussions asking questions belong elsewhere, this section is to correct the book or add suggestions for this site, so I will move it.
     
  4. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Charge flow in an electrochemical cell is primarily a result of both positive and negative ions, not electrons.
     
  5. Jim Hunter

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 27, 2013
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    4
    Thanks for moving the thread; my apologies for posting in the wrong place.

    Is there electron flow from the positive electrode through the electrolyte solution to the negative electrode as is shown in the picture of the discharging battery, or is the electron flow from the negative electrode, through the load, into the positive electrode, changing Pb(IV) to Pb(II)? I can understand that the positive charge is carried by hydrogen ions (maybe I'm misunderstanding that as well), but it seems to me that if electrons were actually flowing though the solution from the positive electrode to the negative electrode, you'd have an infinite supply of electrons to go through the load! What am I missing?
     
  6. nsaspook

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 27, 2009
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  7. Jim Hunter

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 27, 2013
    9
    4
    Thanks. Those are good references.
     
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