Electrochemical testing – 2 – What is a reference electrode?

What is a reference electrode?

A reference electrode is used as a scale to measure the potential of the working electrode.

Reversible reactions

Just as a scale is unchanging, the potential and chemical conditions of the reference electrode should also be unchanging.

Thus, it is necessary that the reactions – oxidation and reduction –  occurring inside a reference electrode are reversible. This ensures constant chemistry.

No polarization

It also ensures that there is no net polarization as both reactions occur simultaneously at different points in the reference electrode. this keeps its potential constant.

Thus, the potential of any working electrode connected to this reference electrode will be dependent only on the conditions of the working electrode. This makes it easier to note the changes happening in the working electrode.

Check out the video for a detailed explanation


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