Analysis of reduction potentials to determine the most efficient metals for electrochemical cell alternatives

(1) Fremont High School

The aim of this work is to determine what metals make the most efficient electrochemical cells. Specifically, we measured the reduction potentials of several metals and then calculated the theoretical voltage that could be conducted by cells constructed with these metals. We tested our theoretical results by constructing an electrochemical cell and then measuring the actual voltage conducted by the cell. We hypothesized that an electrochemical cell constructed of metals with the greatest oxidation states would generate the greatest voltage. Based on measured reduction potentials and our subsequent calculations, we determined that an electrochemical cell made of magnesium and iron would be the most efficient cell with a theoretical voltage of 3.17 volts. Upon construction of an electrochemical cell made of magnesium and iron, we measured actual voltages of 3.19 V and 3.24 V, respectively. Determining the types of metals that will make the most efficient electrochemical cells is important; if we can increase the amount of energy that batteries can hold, then we can increase their lifetime and decrease their size.

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voltage batteries metals chemistry electrochemical potential
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