Electrolysis

y What o It is the conduction of electricity by an electrolyte, an aqueous or molten ionic compound, leading to the decomposition of the electrolyte Electrolysis of compounds o Molten  Evidence for the fact that ions are held in fixed position, in a lattice, when solid. But mobile when molten or aqueous, as electricity is conducted  Cations are attracted to the cathode (negative terminal) and get discharged, as they receive electrons  Anions are attracted to the anode (positive terminal) and get discharged, as they lose electrons  In electrolysis of a binary compound , ionic that only contain two elements, the two ions present are discharged, forming a metal and non-metal o Aqueous  Contains two electrolytes, the aqueous ionic compound and water  A metal or hydrogen is discharged at the cathode  A non-metal is discharged at the anode Selective discharge (when using inert electrodes) o Cations  The least reactive metal ion gets preferentially discharged, as it gains electrons more readily o Anions  Easiest to hardest: Hydroxide, halides, nitrates and sulphates. o Concentration effect  When a halide solution is concentrated, the halides get preferentially discharged compared to hydroxide Purification o Purification of copper.  Set-up  Pure copper cathode, impure copper anode  Copper(II) sulphate electrolyte  Observations  Cathode increases in size, anode decreases o Copper forms at cathode, becomes ion at anode  No colour change o No net change in concentration of copper(II) ions  Impurities are deposited below the anode Electroplating o It is the depositing a layer of metal on another substance using electrolysis

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Nickolas Teo

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Set-up   Uses   

Object at cathode, metal electrode at anode Suitable metal electrolyte Copper plating Tin plating of food cans  To prevent rusting Gold plating  Aesthetics reasons

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Simple cells o What 

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It is a device that converts chemical energy to electrical energy  Electrodes of different reactivity  No source (battery) Electron flow  The more reactive metal is the negative electrode and anode, hence electrons flow more the more reactive to the less reactive Electrical energy produced  The bigger the difference in reactivity, more electricity is produced

Nickolas Teo

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