Editorial

Why Electrochemistry?

 

It is a question often asked, especially since this particular field is often derogated to niche course sections of physical and analytical chemistry. Well, first and foremost the electrochemical cell, the workhorse of the electrochemist is a wonderful device, comes in all sizes and shapes and allows us to directly connect the chemical and electrical worlds.

 

In the last 50 years, the electrochemical cell has partnered with the development of electronics, to provide new devices that has become a critical part of millions of lives, like for example the glucose sensors used every day by people suffering from diabetes, and high energy density rechargeable batteries needed to bring portability to cellphones and computers.

 

Today, the electrochemical cell and indeed electrochemistry continues to be a field of massive expansion. The unique ability of the electrochemical cell to convert electrical energy into chemical energy (and back) is being explored extensively for the energy storage required for society to effectively use renewable sun and wind energy to slow climate change. Similarly, but maybe less known, the ability to inject electrical energy directly into chemical reactions is being explored to improve the efficacy of complex organic reaction. Electrochemists are also hard at work developing new sensors that can be implanted or at least used by individuals without extensive training. These devices are a critical part of the individual medicine dream, where chemicals are only administered based on the actual biochemical situation within the patient. While not receiving the praise that they rightfully deserve, thousands of electrochemists are also joining in to improve our defense against corrosion, an extremely important field considering that worldwide $2.5 trillion dollars equivalent to 3.4% of the world’s total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is lost to these oxidation processes every year.

 

These are only a few examples of where the wonderful flexibility of the electrochemical cell is being put hard to work for the betterment of humanity. However, to continue this development we need curious, tenacious and highly skilled electrochemists ...... and this is why electrochemistry.

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Professor Steen B. Schougaard
Student Chapter Academic Advisor

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