Science, Tech, Math › Science Electrochemical Cell Definition Galvanic and Electrolytic Cells Share Flipboard Email Print A battery is a type of electrochemical cell. corbac40 / Getty Images Science Chemistry Chemical Laws Basics Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated August 09, 2019 An electrochemical cell is a device that generates a potential difference between electrodes using chemical reactions. Galvanic cells and electrolytic cells are examples of electrochemical cells. Galvanic cells, which are also known as voltaic cells, use chemical reactions to generate electricity. These cells are named for either Luigi Galvani or Alessandro Volta. They use a spontaneous redox reaction. A typical galvanic cell consists of two different metals that are connected by a salt bridge or a porous membrane. In contrast, electrolytic cells use electrical energy to cause chemical reactions to occur. The electrical energy overcomes the activation energy required to get a non-spontaneous reaction to proceed. Electrolytic cells are commonly used for electrolysis, which breaks chemical compounds into their elements. A battery refers to one or more electrochemical cells.