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electrolytic cell converts electric energy into chemical energy (need external power source to drive current). a galvanic cell converts chemical energy into electrical energy.
A galvanic cell (left) transforms the energy released by a spontaneous redox reaction into electrical energy that can be used to perform work. In an electrolytic cell (right), an external source of electrical energy is converted to chemical energy.
When given an electrolytic cell, make sure to set up your redox reactions so that you get a negative overall standard reduction potential. But when given an galvanic cell, make sure to get a positive overall standard reduction potential. The reason galvanic cells, which have spontaneous redox reactions, have a positive E standard is so that Delta G will be negative (delta G= - nFE)
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