galvano-, galvan- +

(Named after the Italian physician and physicist who investigated the nature and effects of what he conceived to be electricity in animal tissue; who in 1762 discovered and first described voltaic electricity; electric currents; and primarily, direct electrical current.)

electrolysis, galvanolysis
1. The decomposition of a substance by passage of an electric current through it; for example, hair follicles may be destroyed with this procedure or the destruction of tumors with an electric current.
2. A process in which the passage of an electric current through an electrolytic solution or other suitable medium produces a chemical reaction; such as, that which occurs in a battery.
3. The process of splitting water into its components, hydrogen, and oxygen; by means of an electrical current.
4. Any process in which the passage of an electric current through a solution or medium produces a chemical reaction.
5. The chemical decomposition of a substance by the reactions that occur to its constituent ions at electrodes when an electric current is passed through the molten substance or, more often, through a solution of the substance.
6. The production of chemical changes by passing electric current from an electrode to an electrolyte, or the reverse of such action.

It is also used to separate isotopes, as in the concentration of deuterium, or heavy water, by the electrolysis of ordinary water.

7. One application of electrolysis is the permanent removal of body hair, including the hair roots, with an electronic instrument.

Although electrolysis is promoted as a permanent process, many people find that hair does grow back, although slowly, after electrolysis.

Electrolysis may be done by a dermatologist, by an electrolysis technician, or by a facial technologist or esthetician.

Galvani, Luigi; Luigi Galvani (1737-1798)
An Italian anatomist and physiologist, he noticed in 1780 that the muscles of dissected frog legs twitched wildly when a spark from a Leyden jar (early device for storing electric charge) struck them.

Since electric shocks made living muscles twitch, why not dead ones, too?

Since Benjamin Franklin had shown that lightning was electrical in nature, Galvani wondered whether muscles would twitch if exposed to a thunderstorm; so, he placed frog muscles on brass hooks outside a window so they rested against an iron latticework.

The muscles did indeed twitch during the thunderstorm, but they also twitched in the absence of it. In fact, they twitched whenever they made simultaneous contact with two different metals.

Apparently, electricity was involved, but where did it come from, the metals or the muscles?

Galvani decided it was the muscles, and he spoke of animal electricity. In this, he was mistaken, but electricity was involved with nerve and muscle action just the same.

—"Electrical Stimulation" by Isaac Asimov,
Asimov's Chronology of Science and Discovery;
Harper & Row, Publishers; New York, 1989, page 225.

Additional info about Luigi Galvani

Galvani is famous for the discovery of animal electricity, inspired by his observation that dead frogs suffered convulsions when fixed to an iron fence to dry. He then showed that paroxysms followed if a frog was part of a circuit involving metals, wrongly believing the current source to be in the material of muscles and nerves.

Chambers Biographical Dictionary
edited by Melanie Parry; Chambers Harrap Publishers, Ltd., 1997.
1. Caused by, or producing, an electric current.
2. Of or relating to electricity flowing as a result of chemical activity.
3. Relating to electricity generated by a chemical reaction.

A galvanic cell is an electric cell; such as, found in household and car batt4ries, that makes use of galvanic reactions to act as a power source.

galvanic battery
1. One or more galvanic cells configured so as to yield energy.
2. A galvanic cell, or two or more such cells electrically connected to produce energy.
galvanic corrosion, contact corrosion (s) (noun); galvanic corrosions, contact corrosions (pl)
1. Deterioration or damage in metals caused by oxidation or chemical action that is caused or accelerated by an electrochemical cell.
2. Electrochemical corrosion associated with the current in a galvanic cell, caused by dissimilar metals in an electrolyte because of the difference in potential (emf) of the two metals.

The abbreviation emf refers to "electromotive force" or the cell voltage of a galvanic cell measured when there is no current flowing through the cell.

In other words, the equilibrium electrode potential difference between the two electrodes of the cell.

galvanic couple, voltaic couple
1. The connection of two dissimilar metals in an electrolyte that results in an electrical current flow through the circuit.
2. A pair of unlike substances; such as, metals, which generate a voltage when brought in contact with an electrolyte.
3. Two dissimilar conductors in contact or in the same electrolytic solution, resulting in a difference of potential between them.
galvanic current
1. An essentially steady, direct current produced by galvanic action or chemical activity.
2. A steady direct current; especially, one that is produced chemically.
galvanic electric stimulation
The use of a high-voltage electric stimulator to treat muscle spasms, edema of acute injury (excess serous fluid between tissue cells), myofascial pain (fibrous tissue that encloses and separates layers of muscles), and certain additional disorders.
galvanic electricity
Electricity generated by chemical actions.
1. Current electricity.
2. That branch of physics that deals with electric currents.
3. Treatment of disease by electricity.
Someone who is a specialist in galvanism.
The use of galvanism in treatment or in electroplating metal.
galvanize (verb), galvanizes; galvanized; galvanizing
1. To stimulate, spur, or to jolt into action; to startle into sudden activity: The pollution in the river helped to galvanize the desire for cleaner water and the volunteers started their work immediately.
2. In medicine, to stimulate or treat muscles or nerves with induced direct current: The therapist galvanized Jim's wrist which had been operated on to help heal the tender scar.
3. To coat metal, especially iron or steel with zinc: Next to the old house Jim could see the old bucket which someone had galvanized a long time ago and which was still quite usable!

To galvanize steel means to go through a chemical process to keep it from corroding. The steel gets coated in layers of zinc because rust won't attack the protective metal. For countless outdoor, marine, or industrial applications, galvanizing steel is an essential fabrication component.

The principal method of making steel resist corrosion is by alloying it with another metal, such as zinc. When steel is submerged in melted zinc, the chemical reaction permanently bonds the zinc to the steel by galvanizing it. The zinc isn't exactly a sealer, like paint, because it doesn't just coat the steel, it actually permanently becomes a part of it.

The zinc goes through a reaction with the iron molecules within the steel to form by galvanizing it. The most external layer is all zinc, but successive layers are a mixture of zinc and iron, with an interior of pure steel. These multiple layers are responsible for the amazing property of the metal to withstand corrosion-inducing circumstances, such as saltwater or moisture. Besides being inexpensive and effective, galvanizing of metal is popular because it can be recycled and reused multiple times.

—Compiled from excerpts located in
"What is Galvanized Steel?" by S. Mithra;
galvanized, galvanised (British)
Metal, or something made of metal, that is covered with a thin protective layer of zinc.
galvanizer, galvaniser (British)
1. A skilled worker who coats iron or steel with zinc.
2. A leader who stimulates and excites people into action.

A cross reference of word units that are related, directly and/or indirectly, with "electricity": electro-; hodo-; ion-; piezo-; -tron; volt; biomechatronics, info; mechatronics, info.