Asked Jan 7, 2020

 Describe the standard hydrogen electrode (SHE) and explain its use in determining standard electrode potentials. 


Expert Answer

Step 1

For a half-cell, we cannot measure the potential directly. We can only measure the overall potential that occurs when two half-cells are combined in a whole cell. However, we can arbitrarily assign a potential of zero to a particular half-cell and then measure all other half-cell potentials relative to that zero.

Step 2

The half-cell that is normally chosen to have a potential of zero is the standard hydrogen electrode (SHE) half-cell. This cell consists of an inert platinum electrode immersed in 1 M HCl with hydrogen gas at 1 atm bubbling through the solution. If we combine the standard hydrogen electrode half-cell with another half-cell, the potential difference between the two electrod...

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