Corrosion Doctors site map Corrosion information hub: The Corrosion Doctor's Web site Corrosion engineering consultant



Site index

A to Z listing



Corrosion glossary


Famous scientists

Corrosion course

Distance Ed

Doomsday scenarios



Monitoring glossary

Photo gallery

Rare earths

Search this site

Textbook assignments

Toxic elements

Water glossary




Electrochemistry plays a dominant role in a vast number of research and applied areas. This is basically a consequence of a unique combination of different features of electrochemical reactions.

By the application of a potential they can overcome kinetic limitations even at very low temperatures and are chemically and even stereochemically specific. This leads to applications to chemical synthesis. These are highly sensitive, even to extremely small amounts of reactants, leading to analytical applications. They may be limited to very specific and well-defined electrode surface areas with excellent temporal control, of importance in the emerging field of nanotechnology. Electrochemical reactions are known for a wide range of materials such as metals, semiconductors, polymers, and biological systems. Electrochemistry currently plays a large role in a number of rather diverse areas, such as preparative chemistry, analytical chemistry, energy storage, energy conversion, biochemistry, solid state chemistry, materials science, and microelectronics.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, electrochemistry was mainly dominated by studies of the transport of charged species and thermodynamic considerations. With the pioneering work carried out by Butler, Volmer, Gerischer, Marcus, and others, kinetic aspects of electrochemistry have become more important in electrochemical research since the middle of the twentieth century with an increased understanding of the chemical and electronic structure of the solid/solution interface. These studies have been accelerated by the application of numerous in-situ and ex-situ spectroscopic techniques, which have been combined with electrochemical experiments over the last thirty years. More recently the introduction of in-situ scanning probe techniques has allowed us to follow electrochemical reactions on an atomic or molecular scale.

Based on theoretical and experimental results and methods gathered by electrochemists for many decades, electrochemistry is now used in many fundamental fields, such as the study of new organic and inorganic compounds and biological systems. In more applied areas, it is used to shape materials from the macroscopic to the microscopic scale, to accurately analyze for chemical impurities, to understand and prevent the corrosion of materials at low and extremely high temperatures, to probe the function of living cells, and to convert chemical energy into electricity.