What is a galvanic cell made of?

1 Answer
Jul 15, 2014

Galvanic cells (batteries) are made of all sorts of different materials, but they all have some common elements: 1) a material that gets oxidized (frequently a metal like Li or Zn); 2) a material that gets reduced (sometimes this is just oxygen from the air); 3) two electrodes (cathode and anode) where the reactions take place and where the battery can be connected to an external circuit to provide power; and 4) an internal salt bridge to complete the electrical circuit while holding the oxidizing and reducing agents separate from each other.

Holding the oxidizing and reducing agents apart from each other is what forces the reaction to take place at the electrodes and makes the battery useful for powering circuits like flashlights. Otherwise, the reactions could take place inside the battery and it would quickly go dead.