Electrochemistry I: Chemical Cells


  1. To create a chemical cell (voltaic cell)
  2. To understand how a chemical cell works


  1. (2) 250 mL beakers
  2. A paper tower
  3. (1) copper electrode
  4. (1) zinc electrode
  5. Voltmeter (reading between 0 v and 1.5 v)
  6. 1M CuSO4
  7. 1M NaCl
  8. 1M ZnSO4


  1. Attach the Zinc electrode to the negative (common) side of the voltmeter and the Copper electrode to the positive side of the voltmeter.
  2. Pour the 1M CuSO4 solution into one 250 mL beaker.
  3. Pour the 1M ZnSO4 solution into one 250 mL beaker.
  4. Place the Zinc electrode in the ZnSO4 solution.
  5. Place the Copper electrode in the CuSO4 solution.
  6. Soak the paper towel in the NaCl solution and place one end each beaker.
  7. Record the voltage that is created by the chemical cell.

Data & Information :

  1. Write a balanced equation for the reaction taking place in this reaction.


  1. Voltages listed in references for voltaic cells are given in terms of standard cell potentials (voltages). What is meant by a standard cell? Was your initial voltaic cell a standard cell?
  2. As a standard voltaic cell runs, the voltage delivered by the cell drops. Why does this happen?
  3. Would you expect the voltage delivered by a voltaic cell to change with temperature? Why or why not?