Is a anode negative or positive?

Is An Anode Negative or Positive?

The terms anode and cathode are commonly used in various electrical and electronic devices, referring to the terminals or electrodes through which electric current either enters or exits a device. The polarity (negative or positive) of an anode depends on the context of the device it is used in, particularly whether it is in an electrolytic cell or a galvanic cell.

Galvanic (Voltaic) Cells

In a galvanic cell, which is a type of battery, chemical reactions occur that generate electric current. In this context, the anode is considered the negative terminal. It is where oxidation occurs, meaning electrons are released by the chemical substance at the anode, and these electrons flow through the external circuit to the cathode.

Electrolytic Cells

In an electrolytic cell, which requires an external electrical source to drive the chemical reaction, the situation is reversed. Here, the anode is the positive terminal. This is because it is connected to the positive pole of the power supply, attracting negatively charged ions (anions) for the reaction to occur.

In summary, whether an anode is positive or negative depends on the type of cell in which it is being used:

  • In galvanic cells, the anode is negative.
  • In electrolytic cells, the anode is positive.

This distinction is crucial for the correct identification and understanding of the operation of batteries, electrolyzers, plating cells, and many other electrical and electronic devices.

Back to blog

Leave a comment