battery anode oxidation cathode reduction

The Etymology and Meaning of Anode and Cathode

The terms “anode” and “cathode” were first published by Michael Faraday, F.R.S. in 1834. A delightful (and highly recommended) historical account of how these words were conceived by Faraday and his associates can be found in Faraday Consults the Scholars: The Origins of the Terms of Electrochemistry by Sydney Ross [1]. As scientists have learned about how electrochemistry works, the definitions have evolved somewhat. The following is a brief summary of their etymology and their meaning as it stands today in electrochemical circuits. In the course of my own study of electrochemistry, I thought other students may find this information helpful in keeping everything straight.

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