Hydrogen Electrode

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Related to Hydrogen Electrode: calomel electrode, Standard hydrogen electrode

hydrogen electrode

[′hī·drə·jən i′lek‚trōd]
(physical chemistry)
A noble metal (such as platinum) of large surface area covered with hydrogen gas in a solution of hydrogen ion saturated with hydrogen gas; metal is used in a foil form and is welded to a wire sealed in the bottom of a hollow glass tube, which is partially filled with mercury; used as a standard electrode with a potential of zero to measure hydrogen ion activity.

Hydrogen Electrode


a platinum plate coated with an electrodeposit of platinum black that is immersed in an acid solution having a specific concentration of hydrogen ions H+ and bathed in a flow of gaseous hydrogen. The potential of the hydrogen electrode is produced by the reversible reaction Hydrogen Electrode. An equilibrium is established between the hydrogen adsorbed by the platinum black and the hydrogen ions in the solution. The potential on the electrode E is determined from the Nernst equation

where T is the absolute temperature (°K), aH+ is the active concentration of hydrogen ions (g-ion/l), p is the hydrogen pressure [kgf/cm2 (atm)], and E° is the normal (or standard) potential of the hydrogen electrode when p = 1 kgf/cm2 (1 atm) and aH+ = 1. For any given temperature, is conventionally considered to be zero. The potentials of all other electrodes are calculated with respect to the hydrogen electrode (the so-called hydrogen potential scale). When working with a hydrogen electrode, the hydrogen must be carefully purified from admixtures. Sulfur and arsenic compounds are especially hazardous as is oxygen, which reacts with the hydrogen on the surface of the platinum to form water that disturbs the equilibrium Hydrogen Electrode. This electrode is employed as a reference electrode.

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