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cell, electrolytic Device from which electricity is obtained due to a chemical reaction. A cell consists of two electrodes (a positive anode and a negative cathode) immersed in a solution (electrolyte). A chemical reaction takes place between the electrolyte and one of the electrodes. In a primary cell, current is produced from an irreversible chemical reaction, and the chemicals must be renewed at intervals. In a secondary cell (battery), the chemical reaction is reversible, and the cell can be charged by passing a current through it.