Difference between Galvanic cell and Electrolytic cell

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Here is the key difference between galvanic cell and electrolytic cell on the basis of energy conversion, Redox Reaction, Polarity, Electron Flow, Material, Ions Discharge, Electrons Supply, Chemical Reaction, and Uses.

What is Galvanic Cell?

• A galvanic cell generates electricity through a spontaneous oxidation-reduction chemical reaction. It converts Chemical energy into electrical energy.

• A galvanic cell, named after the scientist Luigi Galvani, is an electrochemical cell in which an electric current is generated from spontaneous Oxidation-Reduction reactions.

Galvanic cell diagram

Galvanic Cell Diagram
Galvanic Cell Diagram

• Typically, a Galvanic cell consists of two half-cells. Both half cells are connected to each other with a salt bridge and the electrode is connected through a wire. Each half-cell contains metal salt that matches the electrode of the half cells.

Half Galvanic Cell diagram
Half Galvanic Cell diagram

What is an Electrolytic cell?

• In an electrolytic cell a chemical compound is disintegrated by passing electricity through it. It required some external source of electricity to continue the  Non-spontaneous redox reactions. An electrolytic cell converts electrical energy into chemical energy.

• The process performed by an electrolytic cell is known as electrolysis. Here electro means electricity and “lysis” means to separate or break, So, “electrolysis” means “break down via electricity”.

• In an electrolysis cell the cathode (+) is negatively charged (-ve) and the anode (-) is positively charged (+ve).

• The cathode undergoes an oxidation reaction while the anode undergoes a reduction reaction.

Diagram of Electrolytic cell

Electrolytic Cell Diagram
Diagram of Electrolytic cell

Galvanic cell vs Electrolytic cell

PropertiesGalvanic CellsElectrolytic Cells
ConversionIt converts the Chemical energy to electrical energy.It converts Electrical energy to Chemical energy.
Reaction typeThe energy released by Spontaneous redox reactionsAn external source of Electrical energy required to continue the  Non-spontaneous redox reactions
Anode TypeThe anode is the negative electrodeThe anode is the positive electrode
Cathode typeThe cathode is the positive electrodeThe cathode is the negative electrode
Electrons Supply                Electrons are supplied to the cell from an external sourceElectrons are drawn from the cell
Location of Reduction processThe reduction process  takes place at the cathodeThe reduction process takes place at the cathode
Location  of Oxidation ProcessThe process of oxidation takes place at the anodethe oxidation process occurs at the anode
StructureEvery Galvanic cell comprises two half cells (Two different container), both are connected with a salt bridge.   Each half cells formed by a single electrodeBoth the electrodes of an Electrolytic cells are kept in the same container in a molten or an electrolyte solution. Here, No salt bridge is required.  
ApplicationPrinciple of Galvanic cell is used to manufacture Batteries.   Example: Voltaic cell (first electrical battery)Principle of Electrolytic cell widely used in  purifying metals like copper, Aluminium, Zinc, Lead, Cadmium and Sodium etc.  And electroplating.

Galvanic cell vs Electrolytic cell in brief

PropertiesGalvanic CellsElectrolytic Cells
Conversion of energyChemical energy Electrical energyElectrical energy Chemical energy
Reaction typeSpontaneous redox reactionsNon-spontaneous redox reactions
Cathode and Anode TypeCathode +ve electrode Anode  -ve electrodeCathode -ve electrode Anode +ve electrode
Location of Reduction and Oxidation processReduction  Cathode Oxidation AnodeReduction    Cathode Oxidation Anode
Structure of cellTwo half cells are connected with a salt bridge.Single-cell contains both the electrode
Used inBattery manufacturing industriesPurifying metals and electroplating
Difference between Galvanic cell and Electrolytic cell
Difference between Galvanic cell and Electrolytic cell

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