Fundamentals of Electrochemistry: Basic Theory and Kinetic Methods

Short Course at ECS meetings

This course covers the basic theory and application of electrochemical science. It is targeted toward people with a physical sciences or engineering background who have not been trained as electrochemists, but who want to add electrochemical methods to their repertoire of research approaches. There are many fields in which researchers originally approach their work from another discipline but then discover that it would be advantageous to understand and use some electrochemical methods to complement the work that they are doing.

The course has just been fully revised to include more practical examples and a more manageable volume of material. It complements a revised sister course, “Fundamentals of Electrochemistry: Basic Theory and Thermodynamic Methods,” offered by the same instructor at the ECS spring meetings. The two courses have a different emphasis, and each is designed to be a stand-alone introduction to electrochemical fundamentals. If both courses are desired, they can be taken in either order.

Topics to be covered
  • Introduction and Overview of Electrode Processes
  • Potential: Significance and Proper Measurement
    • cell potentials and EMF, half-reactions, cell notation, reference electrodes, standard potentials and Nernst equation vs. open circuit potential
    • electrode-solution interface and double-layer structure
  • Chemical Stoichiometry vs. Faraday’s Law
    • coulometry, bulk electrolysis
  • Theoretical Basis for Methods
    • chemical vs. electrochemical kinetics, current-potential relationship, exchange current, Butler-Volmer equation, Tafel equation and Tafel plots, reaction mechanisms
    • mass-transfer effects, Nernst approximation
    • coupled reactions and corrosion
  • Methodology
    • potential measurements, cyclic voltammetry, Tafel analysis, linear polarization technique, chronoamperometry, chronocoulometry, rotating disk and rotating ring disc electrodes, ultra microelectrodes, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy
  • Electrochemical Instrumentation
    • voltmeters, ammeters, potentiostats, galvanostats, IR compensation, design of electrochemical cells
About the instructor

Jamie NoëlJamie Noël is an electrochemist and corrosion scientist. He obtained his BSc (1987) and MSc (1990) degrees from the University of Guelph under supervision of Dr. Jacek Lipkowski. He then worked on corrosion issues in the nuclear industry while employed by Ontario Hydro Research and later Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. Concurrent with his work at AECL, he earned his PhD (2000) through the University of Manitoba with David Shoesmith.

Dr. Noël joined the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada in 1998 as a research scientist and became assistant professor of chemistry in 2016. He uses electrochemical and other surface analytical techniques to study the corrosion of industrial materials, especially nuclear waste management systems components, including those made from carbon steel, titanium, zirconium, copper, nickel alloys, cobalt alloys, and the uranium dioxide fuel itself. He continues to refine techniques that combine electrochemical measurements with neutron-based materials science techniques.

Dr. Noël won the Lash Miller Award of the ECS Canada Section in 2003. He is an active participant in public science outreach activities, developing and presenting chemistry demonstrations for potential young scientists from preschool to high school ages. He has authored over 80 journal articles, 60 conference proceedings papers, 3 book chapters, and 20 company reports.