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terminal through which electric current passes between metallic and nonmetallic parts of an electric circuit. In most familiar circuits current is carried by metallic conductors, but in some circuits the current passes for some distance through a nonmetallic conductor.
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 through which current leaves an electric device. In electrolysiselectrolysis
, passage of an electric current through a conducting solution or molten salt that is decomposed in the process. The Electrolytic Process

The electrolytic process requires that an electrolyte, an ionized solution or molten metallic salt, complete an
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, it is the negative electrode in the electrolytic cell.



(1) In an electron tube or a gas-discharge tube, the electrode that is the source of electrons that ensure the conductivity of interelectrode space in a vacuum or maintain the steadiness of the passage of an electric current through the gas. Depending on the mechanism of emission of electrons, there exist thermionic cathodes, photocathodes, and cold cathodes.

(2) The negatively charged electrode (pole) of a source of current (galvanic cell, storage battery).

(3) The electrode of an electrolytic cell, an electric arc, and other similar devices that are connected to the negative pole of a source of current.


The terminal at which current leaves a primary cell or storage battery; it is negative with respect to the device, and positive with respect to the external circuit.
The primary source of electrons in an electron tube; in directly heated tubes the filament is the cathode, and in indirectly heated tubes a coated metal cathode surrounds a heater. Designated K. Also known as negative electrode.
The terminal of a semiconductor diode that is negative with respect to the other terminal when the diode is biased in the forward direction.
(physical chemistry)
The electrode at which reduction takes place in an electrochemical cell, that is, a cell through which electrons are being forced.


1. the negative electrode in an electrolytic cell; the electrode by which electrons enter a device from an external circuit
2. the negatively charged electron source in an electronic valve
3. the positive terminal of a primary cell


The terminal on a device that emits current. In the cathode ray tubes (CRT) of the bulky TVs and monitors prior to flat panels, the negative cathode emits electrons that are attracted to the positive "anode." Current flows out of cathodes and into anodes. Depending on the application, a cathode may be considered positive or negative. Derived from Greek, cathode and anode mean "down" and "up" respectively. See electrode and cold cathode.

Cathode Emitters
In vacuum tubes, the cathodes are the emitters, and the anodes are the collectors.
References in periodicals archive ?
This means that the zinc coating will always split within its upper layers, and that it will never come away From the surface of the steel substrate, leaving it cathodically protected at all times.
Buried pipelines and structures should be coated or protected cathodically, or at least provided with a means of corrosion monitoring.
It has, however, been shown that the tensile testing of sensitized 304 SS, which has been cathodically charged during testing, will fail primarily by IG separation causing significant AE at failure.
While cathodically protected rubber to metal bonded components present a very unusual and difficult environment for adhesives to resist, the data clearly shows that the proper selection of adhesive will provide a durable, environmentally sound bond.
One of the promising corrosion inhibiting methods for Al alloys is to use zinc or magnesium powder in the primer coatings to cathodically (sacrificially) protect the alloys.
The potentiodynamic current-potential curves were recorded by polarizing the specimen to -250 mV cathodically and +250 mV anodically with respect to OCP at a scan rate of 1 mV [s.
Rheingold, Cathodically Promoted Addition of Nitromethane to Aldehydes and Exploratory Studies of the Mechanism of the Electrochemical Reduction of the Nitroolefins so Produced.
Shirkhanzadeh, Direct formation of nanophase hydroxyapatite on cathodically polarized electrode.
The anode will cathodically protect the gas lines in case there's a problem with the coating.
This prevented the more noble metal from cathodically depositing on downstream coupons and creating a galvanic cell.
The method comprises cathodically conducting electrodeposition coating on an object to be coated and baking the electrodeposition coated film.
Hydrogen was supplied to the steel substrate in an area of 20 mm square by cathodically charging at current density of 0.