Electrolyte diodes with weak acids and bases. II. Numerical model calculations and experiments

Kristóf Iván, Mária Wittmann, Ṕter L. Simon, Zoltán Noszticzius, Dalimil Šnita

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This is the second part of our work dealing with electrolyte diodes with weak acids and bases. In the first part an approximative analytical solution was derived for the steady-state current-voltage characteristic (CVC) of a reverse-biased diode (a quasi-one-dimensional gel connecting an acidic and an alkaline reservoir), applying either strong or weak electrolytes. An approximative analytical solution is compared here with a numerical solution free of any approximations and with CVCs measured experimentally with both strong and weak electrolytes. It is shown that the deviations between the numerical and analytical solutions are mostly due to assumptions made for the fixed charge concentration profiles. The concept of optimal analytical solution is introduced which does not use such assumptions and applies only the quasielectroneutrality and quasiequilibrium approximations. It is proven that the slope of the CVC based on the optimum analytical solution can be calculated without the complicated derivation of that solution itself. The calculation of that slope is based on the fact that in the optimum analytical solution all currents are inversely proportional to the length if the boundary conditions are held constant and realizing that in the middle part of the gel the only mobile counterions of the fixed ionized groups are hydrogen ions. In the experimental part the apparatus and the preparation of the gel are described together with the CVCs measured with strong and weak electrolytes. From these CVCs the fixed ion concentration in the middle part of the gel can be determined. That fixed ion concentration is 1.96× 10-4 M measured with weak electrolytes and 3.48× 10-4 M measured with strong electrolytes. The deviation indicates that the strong base causes some hydrolysis of the gel. Finally, possible applications of weak acid-weak base diodes are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number164510
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Nov 7 2005


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

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