Science, Tech, Math › Science Electrochemical Cell EMF Example Problem Share Flipboard Email Print Clive Streeter / Getty Images Science Chemistry Basics Chemical Laws 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 Todd Helmenstine Todd Helmenstine is a science writer and illustrator who has taught physics and math at the college level. He holds bachelor's degrees in both physics and mathematics. our editorial process Todd Helmenstine Updated August 07, 2019 The cell electromotive force, or cell EMF, is the net voltage between the oxidation and reduction half-reactions taking place between two redox half-reactions. Cell EMF is used to determine whether or not the cell is galvanic. This example problem shows how to calculate the cell EMF using standard reduction potentials.The Table of Standard Reduction Potentials is needed for this example. In a homework problem, you should be given these values or else access to the table. Sample EMF Calculation Consider the redox reaction: Mg(s) + 2 H+(aq) → Mg2+(aq) + H2(g)a) Calculate the cell EMF for the reaction.b) Identify if the reaction is galvanic.Solution:Step 1: Break the redox reaction into reduction and oxidation half-reactions.Hydrogen ions, H+ gain electrons when forming hydrogen gas, H2. The hydrogen atoms are reduced by the half-reaction:2 H+ + 2 e- → H2Magnesium loses two electrons and is oxidized by the half-reaction:Mg → Mg2+ + 2 e-Step 2: Find the standard reduction potentials for the half-reactions.Reduction: E0 = 0.0000 VThe table shows reduction half-reactions and standard reduction potentials. To find E0 for an oxidation reaction, reverse the reaction.Reversed reaction:Mg2+ + 2 e- → MgThis reaction has a E0 = -2.372 V.E0Oxidation = - E0ReductionE0Oxidation = - (-2.372 V) = + 2.372 VStep 3: Add the two E0 together to find the total cell EMF, E0cellE0cell = E0reduction + E0oxidationE0cell = 0.0000 V + 2.372 V = +2.372 VStep 4: Determine if the reaction is galvanic. Redox reactions with a positive E0cell value are galvanic.This reaction's E0cell is positive and therefore galvanic.Answer:The cell EMF of the reaction is +2.372 Volts and is galvanic.