Bockris and Reddy is a well-known text in the electrochemical field. Originally published in 1970, it has had a very long life as an introduction to a vast interdisciplinary area. The updating of the book should have been carried out long ago, but this task had to compete with other needs, for example, preparation of an advanced graduate text (Bockris and Khan, Surface Electrochemistry, Plenum, 1993), and while the sales of the first edition continued to be significant, the inevitable second edition remained a future project. Its time has come.
It may first be restated for whom this book is intended. Its obvious home is in the chemistry and chemical engineering departments of universities. Electrochemistry is also often the basis of fields treated in departments of engineering, materials, science, and biology. However, the total sales of the first edition far exceeded the number of electrochemists in the Electrochemical Society—evidence that the book is used by scientists who may have backgrounds in quite other subjects, but find that their disciplines involve the properties of interfaces and thus, in practice, the interfacial part of electrochemistry (for the ionics part, see Vol. 1).
This broad audience, professionals all, affects the standard of the presentation, and it is important to stress that this book assumes an audience that has an undergraduate knowledge of chemistry. The text starts from the beginning and climbs quite high, from place to place reaching the frontier of a changing field in the late 1990s. However, it does not try, as graduate student texts must, to cover all the advancing fronts. Lucidity is the main characteristic where the book carries over from the first edition and lucidity needs increasingly more space as complexity increases. For those who want to see how the material developed here approaches a graduate standard, Surface Electrochemistry (1993) is available, as well as the monograph series, Modern Aspects of Electrochemistry (Kluwer-Plenum), which is published, roughly, at one volume per year.
Modern Electrochemistry was a two-volume work in 1970, but advances in the field since then have made it necessary to considerably enlarge the scope of this text. Whereas in Vol. 1 on ionics (Chapters 1 through 5), about a third of the first edition could be retained, the material in these two volumes, 2A and 2B, had to be nearly completely rewritten and six new chapters added. The advances made since 1970 start with the fact that the solid/solution interface can now be studied at an atomic level. Single-crystal surfaces turn out to manifest radically different properties, depending on the orientation exposed to the solution. Potentiodynamic techniques that were raw and quasi-empirical in 1970 are now sophisticated experimental methods. The theory of interfacial electron transfer has attracted the attention of physicists, who have taken the beginnings of quantum electrochemistry due to Gurney in 1932 and brought that early initiative to a 1990 level. Much else has happened, but one thing must be said here. Since 1972, the use of semiconductors as electrodes has come into much closer focus, and this has enormously extended the realm of systems that can be treated in electrochemical terms.
Volume 2A consists of Chapters 6 through 9 and covers the fundamentals of electrodics. Chapters 10 through 15, which make up Vol. 2B, discuss electrodics in chemistry, engineering, biology, and environmental science. It would be a misapprehension to think of these chapters as being applied electrochemistry, for the considerations are not at all technological. The material presented serves to illustrate the breadth of fields that depend upon the properties of wet surfaces. Each chapter has been reviewed by a scientist whose principal or even sole activity is in the area covered. The advice given has usually been accepted. The remaining inevitable flaws and choice of material are the responsibility of the authors alone.
A teaching book should have problems for students to solve and as explained in the preface to Vol. 1, acknowledgment must be made here to the classification of these problems according to a scheme used in Atkins, Physical Chemistry (Freeman).