COOL CLASSES: “Topics in Electrochemistry”

This course surveys electrochemical concepts relevant to real-world technologies—in particular those that advance renewable energy—through a combination of mini-lectures to introduce the topics and student-led discussions on current research in the field.

Class name: “Topics in Electrochemistry”

Taught by: Visiting Assistant Professor Jessica Stuart


Here’s what Stuart had to say about her class:

In the late 18th century, Luigi Galvani experimented with dissected frog legs and found that when they were mounted on iron hooks, the leg would twitch when touched with a probe made of another metal. Galvani was convinced he found a new form of electricity which was produced by the frog, however, he did not. Alessandro Volta realized this phenomenon was a result of the two dissimilar metals and that the metals were generating the current not the frog parts. Volta—who was maybe shocked one too many times—tested various combinations of metals by placing them on his tongue to test whether they conduct electricity. He later tested this further with the Voltaic Pile, the first electrical battery which could continuously provide an electric current.

Electrochemistry has come a long way since then. I created this class with the hope that students who take this course will walk away with an understanding of the complexity of this field by providing a survey of electrochemical concepts relevant to real-world technologies through a combination of mini-lectures to introduce the topics and integrating student-led discussions on current research in the field.

This course will have a strong focus on electrochemical processes that advance renewable-energy technologies and that offer solutions to climate change. My past research has provided me with two very different first-hand experiences in this field, from developing new battery technologies to foster a future-based wind or solar energy to the advancement of CO2 removal from the atmosphere while producing valuable carbon products—an electrochemical process that has potential to impact climate change.

Over the quarter, will discuss climate change and the need for alternative renewable energies. We will build a foundation of knowledge on current technologies and survey various materials and electrochemical processes. We will start by examining the topics of primary and secondary batteries then later fuel cells through the characterization of aqueous and solid electrolytes while touching on the kinetics of electrode processes, ion transport mechanisms, and electrochemical characterization techniques. Based on this, we will discuss the importance of developing new battery technologies, including large-scale energy storage to facilitate the use of renewable energies and improvements to lithium-ion batteries. Lastly, we will explore energy and chemical production via renewable pathways such as wind and solar as well as discuss relevant industrial applications.


See what other courses the Department of Chemistry is offering this semester.

Photo by Pixabay.

Cool Classes is a series that highlights interesting, unusual, and unique courses that enrich the Haverford experience.