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Electrochemistry Dictionary - W

  • W: Symbol and abbreviation of watt.

  • Wh: Symbol and abbreviation of watt-hour.

  • Water electrolysis: Process for the electrochemical decomposition of water in a divided electrolytic cell by electrolysis. Typically, hydrogen gas is produced at the steel cathode (see hydrogen evolution) and oxygen gas is produced at the nickel anode (see oxygen evolution). The cell is divided to avoid mixing the hydrogen and oxygen gases. The electrolyte is typically an aqueous potassium hydroxide solution. Potassium hydroxide is used to provide a large ionic conductivity, even though the potassium is not reacting at any of the electrodes (see supporting electrolyte).

  • Watt: Measurement unit of electrical power. Symbol: "W". Related units are that of power density: watt/kilogram (W/kg) and watt/liter (W/l).

  • Watt-hour: Measurement unit of electrical energy. Symbol: "Wh". Related units are that of energy density: watt-hour/kilogram (Wh/kg) and watt-hour/liter (Wh/l).

  • Wet cell: A cell in which the liquid electrolyte is free-flowing.

  • Working electrode: The test or specimen electrode in an electrochemical cell. Or the electrode in a three-electrode cell where "the action is." The kinetics and mechanism of the electrode reaction may be under investigation, or the reaction occurring on the working electrode may be used to perform an electrochemical analysis of the electrolyte solution. It can serve either as an anode or a cathode, depending on the applied polarity. One of the electrodes in some "classical two-electrode" cells can also be considered a "working" ("measuring," "indicator," or "sensing") electrode, e.g., in a potentiometric electroanalytical setup where the potential of the measuring electrode (against a reference electrode) is a measure of the concentration of a species in the solution.