Historic publications in electrochemistry

Revision date: September 5, 2014.

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This compilation contains more than 100 links to historic publications in electrochemistry available on the Internet. Publications reporting the discovery of a new scientific phenomenon or a new technology. (Some of the available files are large and will load slowly. Also, there is a presently unexplained problem with some files on some browsers, giving a network error indication. If this happens, repeatedly click on “reload” and force the file to new pages, it will load eventually. Please let me know if you have serious problems.)

Additions and corrections are welcome, send them to: nagyz@email.unc.edu.

See also a listing of websites on the history of electrochemistry (http://knowledge.electrochem.org/estir/inet.htm#hist).

Many electrochemistry books published between the 1700's and 1950 (some more historical than others) are now also available on the Internet.
(http://knowledge.electrochem.org/estir/old-books.htm)


NOTE:
On all files the address of ESTIR is given as:
http://electrochem.cwru.edu/estir/
THIS IS INCORRECT, but it would be too much work to change 100+ files.
THE CORRECT ADDRESS IS:
knowledge.electrochem.org/estir/


The first observation and measurements of the “electrolytic (ionic) conduction” of electricity by Cavendish

The discovery of “passivity” of iron by Keir

The discovery of “animal electricity” by Galvani

  • De Viribus Electricitatis in Motu Musculari Commentarius (large file, loads slowly)
    Aloysii Galvani, Reprint of the original publication that appeared in De Bononiensi Scientiarum et Artium Instituto atque Academia Commentarii, Vol. 7, pp 363-415, 1791.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-52-Galvani-2.pdf)

  • Commentary on the effects of electricity on muscular motion (download   or   read online)
    Luigi Galvani, An English translation
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-51-Galvani-1-dl.pdf
    http://www.archive.org/stream/commentaryonthee002243mbp#page/n45/mode/2up)

The first battery, the "Volta pile"

The first “electrolytic decomposition of water” (using the Volta pile) by Nicholson and Carlisle

  • Account of the new Electrical or Galvanic Apparatus of Alessandro Volta and Experiments performed with the same (download   or   read online)
    William Nicholson and Anthony Carlisle, Journal of Natural Philosophy, Chemistry and the Arts, Vol. 4, pp 179-187, 1801.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-38-Nicholson-dl.pdf
    http://www.archive.org/stream/ajournalnatural10nichgoog#page/n201/mode/1up)

The discovery of “electroplating” by Brugnatelli

  • Electrodeposition of metals in rough (dendritic/mossy) form was observed as early 1800 and published in 1801. See the Nicholson-Carlisle paper (on water electrolysis) above; and also by William Cruickshank, at the same link as the Nicholson-Carlisle paper, starting at pages 187 and 254.

  • Galvanisme
    Luigi Vincenzo Brugnatelli, Journal de chimie et de physique, ou recueil périodique des découvertes dans les sciences chimiques et physiques, tant en France que chez l'etranger, Vol. 5, pp 357-358, 1803.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-106-Brugnatelli-1.pdf)

  • Galvanism (an English translation)
    Luigi Vincenzo Brugnatelli, The Philosophical Magazine, Vol. 21, p 187, 1805.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-36-Brugnatelli.pdf)

  • See also The early history of gold plating (large file, loads slowly)
    L. B. Hunt, Gold Bulletin, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp 16-27, 1973.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-103-Brugnatelli-Hunt.pdf)

The discovery and electrolytic preparation of “alkali metals” by Davy

The invention of “sacrificial cathodic corrosion protection” by Davy

The discovery of "Faraday's Laws of electrolysis" and evidence for the "chemical theory" of Volta's pile

  • Experimental Researches in Electricity, Third Series. §. 7. Identity of Electricities derived from different sources. §. 8. Relation by measure of common and voltaic Electricity.
    Michael Faraday, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Vol. 123, pp 23-54, 1833.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-04-Faraday-3.pdf)

  • Experimental Researches in Electricity, Fifth Series. §. 11. On Electro-chemical Decomposition. ¶ i. New conditions of Electro-chemical Decomposition. ¶ ii. Influence of Water in Electro-chemical Decomposition. ¶ iii. Theory of Electro-chemical Decomposition.
    Michael Faraday, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Vol. 123, pp 675-710, 1833.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-05-Faraday-5.pdf)

  • Experimental Researches in Electricity, Seventh Series. §. 11. On Electro-chemical Decomposition, continued. ¶ iv. On some general conditions of Electro-decomposition. ¶ v. On a new Measurer of Volta-electricity. ¶ vi. On the primitive or secondary character of bodies evolved in Electro-decomposition. ¶ vii. On the definite nature and extent of Electro-chemical Decompositions. § 13. On the absolute quantity of Electricity associated with the particles or atoms of Matter.
    Michael Faraday, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Vol. 124, pp 77-122, 1834.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-06-Faraday-7.pdf)

  • Experimental Researches in Electricity, Eighth Series. §. 14. On the Electricity of the Voltaic Pile; its source, quantity, intensity, and general characters. ¶ i. On simple Voltaic Circles. ¶ ii. On the intensity necessary for Electrolyzation. ¶ iii. On associated Voltaic Circles, or the Voltaic Battery. ¶ iv. On the resistance of an Electrolyte to Electrolytic action. ¶ v. General remarks on the active Voltaic Battery.
    Michael Faraday, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Vol. 124, pp 425-470, 1834.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-07-Faraday-8.pdf)

  • Experimental Researches in Electricity, Tenth Series. §. 16. On an improved form of the Voltaic Battery. §. 17. Some practical results respecting the construction and use of the Voltaic Battery.
    Michael Faraday, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Vol. 125, pp 263-274, 1835.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-08-Faraday-10.pdf)

  • The complete Experimental Researches in Electricity, Series 1 through 14, (published originally in the Philosophical Transactions, 1832-1838) was reprinted and published in a book form by Faraday in 1839. The second edition of that book is available at:
    Experimental Researches in Electricity, (Vol. 1, 2nd ed) Michael Faraday, Richard and John Edward Taylor, London, 1849.
    (http://www.archive.org/details/experimentalrese14986gut)

The invention of “electroforming or electrotyping” by De la Rue and by Jacobi

The “Daniell cell,” the first practical and widely-used laboratory power source after the Volta pile

The discovery of “photoelectrochemical effect” by Becquerel

  • Mémoire sur les effets électriques produits sous l'influence des rayons solaires (download   or   read online)
    Alexandre Edmond Becquerel, Comptes rendu des séances de l'Académie des sciences, Paris, Vol. 9, pp 561–567, 1839.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-102-Becquerel-dl.pdf
    http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k2968p/f561.chemindefer)

The first observation of “hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell” effect by Schoenbein and by Grove

The first electrolytic preparation of “magnesium” by Bunsen

  • Darstellung des Magnesiums auf electrolytischem Wege (download   or   read online)
    Robert Wilhelm Bunsen, Annalen der Chemie und Pharmacie, Vol. 82, (New Series, Vol. 6) pp 137-145, 1852.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-40-Bunsen-1-dl.pdf
    http://www.archive.org/stream/annalenderchemi39liebgoog#page/n535/mode/1up)

The discovery and first measurements of “transference number” by Hittorf

  • Ueber die Wanderungen der Ionen während der Elektrolyse (download   or   read online)
    Johann Wilhelm Hittorf, Annalen der Physik und Chemie, Vol. 165, (Ser. 2, Vol. 89) pp 177-211, 1853.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-86-Hittorf-1-dl.pdf
    http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k151746/f191.image.langEN)

  • Ueber die Wanderungen der Ionen während der Elektrolyse (Zweite Mitthellung) (download   or   read online)
    Johann Wilhelm Hittorf, Annalen der Physik und Chemie, Vol. 174, (Ser. 2, Vol. 98) pp 1-33, 1856.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-87-Hittorf-2-dl.pdf
    http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k151835/f13.image.pagination.langEN)

  • Ueber die Wanderungen der Ionen während der Elektrolyse (Schluss) (download   or   read online)
    Johann Wilhelm Hittorf, Annalen der Physik und Chemie, Vol. 182, (Ser. 2, Vol. 106) pp 513-586, 1859.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-88-Hittorf-3-dl.pdf
    http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k15191s/f525.image.langEN)

The concept and model of the double layer on the interfaces of colloidal suspensions (subsequently extended to surfaces of metal electrodes, and it is known today as the "Helmholtz layer")

  • Ueber einige Gesetze der Vertheilung elektrischer Ströme in körperlichen Leitern mit Anwendung auf die thierisch-elektrischen Versuche (download   or   read online)
    Hermann Helmholtz, Annalen der Physik und Chemie, Leipzig, Vol. 165, (Ser. 2, Vol. 89, Ser. 3, Vol. 29} pp 211-233, 1853.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-42-Helmholtz-dl.pdf
    http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k151746.image.r=Annalen+der+Physik+und+Chemie.f225.langEN)

The first electrolytic preparation of “aluminum” by Bunsen and by Deville

  • Notiz über elektrolytische Gewinnung der Erd- und Alkalimetalle (download   or   read online)
    Robert Wilhelm Bunsen, Annalen der Physik und Chemie, Leipzig, Vol. 168, (Ser. 2, Vol. 92, Ser. 4, Vol. 2) pp 648-651, 1854.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-41-Bunsen-2-dl.pdf
    http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k151777.image.r=Annalen+der+Physik+und+Chemie.f664.langEN)

  • Recherches sur les métaux, et en particulier sur l'aluminium et sur une nouvelle forme du silicium (download   or   read online)
    Henri Etienne Sainte-Claire Deville, Annales de chimie et de physique, Ser. 3 Vol. 43. pp 5-36, 1855.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-64-Deville-dl.pdf
    http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k34784b.image.r=Annales+de+chimie+et+de+physique.f4.langEN.pagination)

The first electrolytic preparation of “fluorine” by Frémy

  • Recherches sur les Fluorures (download   or   read online)
    Edmond Frémy, Annales de chimie et de physique, Ser. 3, Vol. 47, pp 5-50, 1856.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-43-Fremy-dl.pdf
    http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k34788q.image.r=Annales+de+chimie+et+de+physique.f4.langEN)

The invention of “lead – lead oxide cell” by Planté. This was the basis for the first commercial “lead-acid battery (secondary cell)”

  • Note sur la polarisation voltaique (download   or   read online)
    Raymond Gaston Planté, Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l'Académie des sciences, Paris, Vol. 49, pp 402-405, 1859.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-44-Plante-1-dl.pdf
    http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k3006f.image.r=Comptes+rendus+hebdomadaires+des+s%C3%A9ances+de+l.f404.langEN)

  • Nouvelle pile secondaire d’une grande puissance (download   or   read online)
    Raymond Gaston Planté, Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l'Académie des sciences, Paris, Vol. 50, pp 640-642, 1860.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-45-Plante-2-dl.pdf
    http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k3007r.image.r=Comptes+rendus+hebdomadaires+des+s%C3%A9ances+de+l.f652.langEN)

The discovery of “conducting polymers” by Letheby

The invention of “capillary electrometer”, used extensively in double-layer research, by Lippmann

  • Beziehungen zwischen den capillaren und elektrischen Erscheinungen (download   or   read online)
    Jonas Ferdinand Gabriel Lippmann, Annalen der Physik und Chemie, Leipzig, Vol. 225, (Ser.2, Vol. 149, Ser. 5, Vol. 29) pp 546-561, 1873.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-67-Lippmann-dl.pdf
    http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k15233w/f580.image.pagination.r=Annalen%20der%20Physik.langEN)

The invention of “Leclanché cell”. This was the basis for the first commercial “dry-cell”

  • Georges Leclanché, French Patents, No. 69,980 and 71,865, 1866.

  • Nouvelle pile au peroxyde de manganèse (download   or   read online)
    Georges Leclanché, Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l'Académie des sciences, Paris, Vol. 83, pp 54-56, 1876.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-46-Leclanche-1-dl.pdf
    http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k3040p.image.r=Comptes+rendus+hebdomadaires+des+s%C3%A9ances+de+l.f54.langEN)

  • Méthode pratique pour expérimenter un élément de pile (download   or   read online)
    Georges Leclanché, Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l'Académie des sciences, Paris, Vol. 83, pp 1236-1238, 1876.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-47-Leclanche-2-dl.pdf
    http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k3040p.image.r=Comptes+rendus+hebdomadaires+des+s%C3%A9ances+de+l.f1230.langEN)

The discovery of “ionic dissociation” by Arrhenius, for which he was awarded the 1903 Nobel Prize

The discovery of “liquid junction potential” by Nernst (1920 Nobel Prize Awardee)

  • Zur Kinetik der in Lösung befindlichen Körper (large file, loads slowly)
    Walther Hermann Nernst, Zeitschrift für physikalische Chemie, Stöchiometrie und Verwandtschaftslehre, Vol. 2, pp 613-637, 1888.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-91-Nernst-2.pdf)

The invention of “Hall-Héroult” process for the electrolytic production of aluminum

The first, resonably practical "hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell" by Mond and Langer

  • A New Form of Gas Battery
    Ludwig Mond and Carl Langer, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Vol 46, pp 296-304, 1889.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-10-Mond.pdf)

A very detailed “history of batteries” by Tommasi, covering the field from its earliest beginnings till almost the end of the 19th century

The "Nernst equation” of electrode potential (1920 Nobel Prize Awardee)

  • Die elektromotorische Wirksamkeit der Ionen
    Walther Hermann Nernst, Zeitschrift für physikalische Chemie, Stöchiometrie und Verwandtschaftslehre, Vol. 4, pp 129-181, 1889.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-13-Nernst-1.pdf)

The “Weston standard cell”

  • Voltaic cell
    Edward Weston, US Patent, No. 494,827, 1893.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-74-Weston.pdf)

Introduction of the concept of "fuel cells or cold combustion" by Ostwald (1909 Nobel Prize Awardee) to circumvent the thermodynamic limitation of heat engines by using a single-step conversion of the fuel's chemical energy into electrical energy

A very detailed “history of electrochemistry” by Ostwald (1909 Nobel Prize Awardee), covering the field from its earliest beginnings till almost the end of the 19th century

  • Elektrochemie: Ihre Geschichte und Lehre
    Wilhelm Ostwald, Veit, Leipzig, 1896.
    (http://www.archive.org/details/elektrochemieih00ostwgoog)
    An English translation is available in hard copy form. Electrochemistry: history and theory (2 volumes), Translated by N. P. Date, Published for the Smithsonian Institution and the National Science Foundation, Washington, DC, by Amerind Publ. Co., New Delhi, 1980.

The first high precision “conductivity measurements” by Kohlrausch and by Washburn and Bell

The first use of the term “overpotential (Überspannung)” by Caspari

  • Über elektrolytische Gasentwickelung
    W. A. Caspari, Zeitschrift für physikalische Chemie, Stöchiometrie und Verwandtschaftslehre, Vol. 30, pp 89-97, 1899.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-84-Caspari.pdf)

The “Tafel equation” of overpotential

The discovery of “glass electrode” for measurement of pH by Cremer and by Haber (1918 Nobel Prize Awardee) and Klemensiewicz

The discovery of (non-glass) “ion-selective electrodes” by Haber (1918 Nobel Prize Awardee)

  • Über feste Elektrolyte, ihre Zersetzung durch den Strom und ihr elektromotorisches Verhalten in galvanishen Ketten (download (large file, loads slowly)   or   read online)
    Fritz Haber, Annalen der Physik, Vol. 331 (Ser. 4, Vol. 26), pp 927-973, 1908.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-105-Haber-dl.pdf
    http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k15332t/f951.image.langEN

The establishment of “pH scale as a measure of acidity” by Sörensen

The first extension of “Helmholtz model of double layer” to metallic electrodes, and the introduction of the concept of the “diffuse layer” by Gouy and Chapman. It was based on the same premises as the Debye-Hückel theory, which it preceded by more than ten years

  • Sur la constitution de la charge électrique à la surface d'un électrolyte (download   or   read online)
    Louis Georges Gouy, Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l'Académie des sciences, Paris, Vol. 149, pp 654-657, 1909.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-49-Gouy-2-dl.pdf
    http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k3103r.image.r=Comptes+rendus+hebdomadaires+des+s%C3%A9ances+de+l.f654.langEN)

  • Sur la constitution de la charge électrique à la surface d'un électrolyte
    Louis Georges Gouy, Journal de Physique Théorique et Appliquée, Ser. 4, Vol. 9, pp 457-468, 1910.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-21-Gouy-1.pdf)

  • A Contribution to the Theory of Electrocapillarity
    David Leonard Chapman, The London, Edinburgh, and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, Ser. 6, Vol. 25, pp 475-481, 1913.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-25-Chapman.pdf)

The discovery of “membrane equilibrium potential” by Donnan

The first observation and suggested explanation of the phenomenon of “under-potential deposition” by Hevesy, by Haissinsky, and by Rogers and coworkers

The definition of “ionic strength” by Lewis and Randall

The invention of “polarography” by Heyrovský, for which he was awarded the 1959 Nobel Prize

The invention of “electronic pH meter” by Goode and successful commercialization by Beckman

The "Debye-Hückel" theory of electrolyte solutions

The “Stern modification” of Gouy-Chapman model of the double layer

The “Butler-Volmer equation” of electrode kinetics

The first “quantum mechanical” treatment of electrode reactions by Gurney

The discovery of “influence of the electrical double layer” on the kinetics of electrode reactions by Frumkin

The first explanation of the meaning of the “charge transfer coefficient” by Horiuti and Polányi

The first experimental demonstration of the (non-glass) “ion-selective electrode” by Kolthoff and Sanders

The introduction of “E – pH diagrams” by Pourbaix

The derivation of “mixed-potential theory” for corroding metals by Wagner and Traud

The derivation of hydrodynamics of the “rotating disk electrode” by Levich

  • The Theory of Concentration Polarization (large file, loads slowly)
    Veniamin Grigorievich (Benjamin) Levich, Acta Physicochimica U. R. S. S., Vol. 17, pp 257-307, 1942.
    (http:/estir/hist/hist-83-Levich.pdf)

The invention of “potentiostat” by Hickling

The first use of “impedance spectroscopy” for the study of kinetics of electrode reactions by Randles

The first rigorous measurements of “double-layer capacity” and quantitative proof of the double-layer theory by Grahame

The “Marcus theory” of electron transfer reactions, for which he was awarded the 1992 Nobel Prize

The derivation of “electrochemical equation of corrosion” based on the mixed potential theory and the use of the linear polarization resistance by Stern and Geary

The discovery and first applications of practical “ion-selective membrane electrodes” by Pungor and coworkers

The early beginnings of modern “surface electrochemistry” by using single-crystal electrodes, ultra-high-vacuum experimental techniques, and flame annealing by Gerischer, by Budewski, by Will, by Hubbard, and by Clavilier

The derivation of the theory of “cyclic voltammetry” by Nicholson and Shain

The modern rediscovery and first practical applications of “conducting polymers” by Heeger, MacDiarmid, and Shirakawa, for which they were awarded the 2000 Nobel Prize


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