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 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 their work.

The course begins with a general, basic foundation of electrochemistry and uses it to develop the theory and experimental approaches to electrochemical problems that depend on kinetic parameters. It complements a revised sister course, “Fundamentals of Electrochemistry: Basic Theory and Thermodynamic Methods,” offered alternately by the same instructor. The two courses have different emphases. Each is designed as 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: its 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 (Faraday’s Law)
    • Coulometry, bulk electrolysis
  • Theoretical basis for methods
    • Chemical/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 Noël

Dr. James (Jamie) Noël, Associate Professor of Chemistry, University of Western Ontario (UWO), Canada, is an electrochemist and corrosion scientist. He obtained his BSc and MSc degrees from the University of Guelph, supervised by 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 Limited (AECL). While at AECL, he earned his PhD at the University of Manitoba, Canada, with David Shoesmith and Hymie Gesser as supervisors.

Dr. Noël joined UWO as a research scientist in 1998 and became a faculty member 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 and other surface analytical methods.

Dr. Noël received the ECS Canada Section’s 2003 Lash Miller and 2018 R. C. Jacobsen Awards. He is an active participant in public science outreach activities, developing and presenting chemistry demonstrations for potential young scientists from preschool to high school. He has co-authored over 110 journal articles, 60 conference proceedings papers, six book chapters, and 20 company reports.