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Anode Output Current

Last updated: November 25, 2016

What Does Anode Output Current Mean?

An anode output current is the electric current emitted from a highly polarized electrode (the anode) where electric current travels into an electrical device. Typically, the current's direction is always opposite to the flow of electrons. This current is anode output current.

To illustrate, electrons travel from the positive charge, or anode, into an electrical circuit. A mnemonic that is widely used to define an anode is ACID, which stands for "anode: current into device."


Corrosionpedia Explains Anode Output Current

A common misconception about an anode's polarity is that it always carries a positive charge. This is due to the fact that anions, or negatively charged particles, move into the positively charged electrodes. The truth is that the polarity of an anode depends on the type of device or its mode of operation. In most cases, an anode has a positive charge in any device that takes in power, and carries a negative charge when it is used in a device that gives off power. The current that flows out of an anode into any electrical device is considered to be an output current from the anode.

The following are examples of anodes and the output current direction:

  • In a galvanic cell or discharging battery, the anode corresponds to the negative terminal since it is where the current travels into the battery.
  • In an electrolytic cell or recharging battery, the anode is positive since it is receiving current from other sources.
  • In cathode ray tubes, the anode is positive since it is where electrons travel out of the tube.

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