Encyclopedia of Applied Electrochemistry

2014 Edition
| Editors: Gerhard Kreysa, Ken-ichiro Ota, Robert F. Savinell


  • Manuel Lohrengel
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-6996-5_224


Before 1900, electrochemical experiments focused on thermodynamic aspects and, thus, were reduced to potential measurements of systems, which were stationary or in equilibrium. But with time, scientists became interested in kinetics, i.e., systems away from equilibrium [1]. This was often realized by constant current (galvanostatic) experiments, which were for two reasons advantageous: they were easily realized and guaranteed a constant reaction rate, which was relevant in some cases. Moreover, time dependent reactions could be monitored, if the potential was recorded versus time. These “charging curves” [2] were the main technique to follow electrode kinetics up to the 60s of the last century.

Potentiostats were much later developed. The first completely electronic device was presented by Hickling in 1942 [3], and from 1960 most galvanostatic experiments were substituted by potentiostatic sweep techniques.

Basic Circuits

Modern concepts of galvanostats or potentiostats...
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    Tafel J (1905) Polarisation during cathodic Hydrogen development. Z physik Chem 50:641–712Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Vetter KJ (1967) Electrochemical kinetics theoretical and experimental aspects. Academic, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hickling A (1942) Studies in electrode polarisation Part IV-The automatic control of the potential of a working electrode. Trans Faraday Soc 38:27–33Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bard AJ, Faulkner LR (1980) Electrochemical methods: fundamentals and applications. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Macdonald DD (1977) Transient techniques in electrochemistry. Plenum, New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany