Fundamentals of Electrochemistry: Basic Theory and Thermodynamic 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 begins with a general, basic foundation of electrochemistry and uses it to develop the theory and experimental approaches to electrochemical problems of a thermodynamic nature. It complements a sister course, “Fundamentals of Electrochemistry: Basic Theory and Kinetic Methods”, offered alternately by the same instructor. The two courses have 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
  • Chemical vs. Electrochemical Thermodynamics
    • reference electrodes, standard potentials, cell potentials, Nernst equation, electrode-solution interface, and double-layer structure
    • ion-selective electrodes, applications in analytical electrochemistry and sensors, aqueous and non-aqueous systems
  • Chemical Stoichiometry vs. Faraday’s Law
    • coulometry, bulk electrolysis
  • Theoretical Basis for Methods
    • surface tension, adsorption and adsorption isotherms, electrocapillarity, potential of zero charge, Lippmann equation
  • Methodology
    • potentiometry, differential capacity, coulometry, cyclic voltammetry, polarography
  • Electrochemical Instrumentation
    • voltmeters, ammeters, potentiostats, galvanostats, design of electrochemical cells
  • Coupled Characterization Methods (time permitting)
    • modified electrodes, spectroelectrochemistry, in-situ neutron scattering, surface analysis, etc.
About the instructor

Jamie NoëlDr. Jamie Noël is an electrochemist and corrosion scientist. He obtained his BSc (1987) and MSc (1990) degrees from the University of Guelph under the 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, 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 2003 Lash Miller Award and 2018 R.C. Jacobsen Award of the ECS Canada Section. 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, 5 book chapters, and 20 company reports.