simple science

The Gravity Cell

Simple Science

The Gravity Cell

A large, irregular copper electrode is placed in the bottom of a jar, and completely covered with a saturated solution of copper sulphate. Then a large, irregular zinc electrode is suspended from the top of the jar, and is completely covered with dilute sulphuric acid which does not mix with the copper sulphate, but floats on the top of it like oil on water. The hydrogen formed by the chemical action of the dilute sulphuric acid on the zinc moves toward the copper electrode, as in the simple voltaic cell. It does not reach the electrode, however, because, when it comes in contact with the copper sulphate, it changes places with the copper there, setting it free, but itself entering into the solution. The copper freed from the copper sulphate solution travels to the copper electrode, and is deposited on it in a clean, bright layer. Instead of a deposit of hydrogen there is a deposit of copper, and falling off in current is prevented.

The gravity cell is cheap, easy to construct, and of constant strength, and is in almost universal use in telegraphic work. Practically all small railroad stations and local telegraph offices use these cells.

FIG. - The gravity cell.

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