How does a voltaic cell produce an electric current?
By moving electrons along a wire.
An electric current is a flow of electric charge.
Electric currents can be produced through the movement of electrons through a wire.
When we think about the movement of electrons, we usually think redox reactions, or reactions which involve a transfer of electrons.
Let's take a look at this redox reaction:
We can see that the oxidation state of
We can also see that the oxidation state of
In other words,
Normally, when this reaction happens, electrons are transferred directly between the two reactants to form the products.
That's not really helpful if we want to conduct an electric current.
So, a voltaic/galvanic cell separates
The electrons can't be directly transferred anymore.
This results in electrons moving from
And as these electrons are moving across the wire, an electric current is produced.
In a voltaic/galvanic cell, we also see the use of a salt bridge or porous disk to allow ions to flow between them.
This is basically to maintain charge. We won't get into it right now because it's not too relevant, but more about salt bridges/porous disks here!