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Vol. 27 No. 3
May-June 2005

Up for Discussion | A forum for members and member organizations to share ideas and concerns.
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end your comments by e-mail to edit.ci@iupac.org

No more "emf"

As a follow-up to Vladimir Simeon's question about replacing the term "electromotive force," published in the November-December 2004 CI, p.18, Christopher Brett, vice president of the Physical and Biophysical Chemistry Division, informed CI that the issue has been a concern of the former Commission on Electrochemistry since the publication of the 2nd edition of the "Green Book"* in 1993. As Simeon rightly pointed out, the name is inconsistent with its meaning and the word "force " is misleading, since potential differences are not forces.

Beginning in 1997,an extensive revision of the Electrochemistry section of the "Green Book " was carried out by the Commission on Electrochemistry. The revisions include the removal of "electromotive force" and "emf." In referring to an electrochemical cell, only the terms "cell potential" or "potential difference of an electrochemical cell" are recommended.

The 3rd edition of the "Green Book " in which the revised section on Electrochemistry will appear, is highly anticipated. The Green Book will clarify this and other issues and be an important aid and source of recommended terminology and symbols, both for electrochemists and for the wider chemical community.


*I. Mills, et al, IUPAC Quantities, Units and Symbols in Physical Chemistry, 2nd ed., Blackwell, Oxford 1993.


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