You are on page 1of 3

A2 Redox & SEP Part 2 Applications

Candidates should be able to:

(l) appreciate the very wide range of occurrence of redox processes in chemistry;

Redox processes occur widely in chemistry. In the organic chemistry of Unit 4 a number of reactions involving oxidation or reduction have already been encountered. Candidates should be familiar with these and be able to quote them under the more general heading of redox. Very few metals occur uncombined or as native! metals "gold and silver# and to some extent copper# occur as the metal$. %ercury can be obtained by heating its oxide. %ost metals are obtained from their ores by reduction. %etals such as iron and copper are obtained by chemical reduction whereas very reactive metals such as sodium# potassium and aluminium are extracted by electrolytic reduction. &lectrolysis is important in other industrial processes# e.g. in the extraction of the halogens fluorine# chlorine and bromine in which the halide ions are oxidised to the halogen by electrolysis.

'( The Hydrogen Fuel Cell

Candidates should be able to:


explain the principles underlying the operation of the hydrogen fuel cell in terms + + of the electrode half reactions 2H + 2e H2 and O2 + 4H + 4e 2H2O in the presence of a platinum catalyst its potential use for storing energy and generating electricity and heat and the !enefits and draw!ac"s of its use (details of cell construction not re#uired)$
)*+,& containing platinum catalyst air "oxygen$ hydrogen gas proton exchange membrane

) simplified diagram of a hydrogen fuel cell.

water unused hydrogen gas


This diagra

is !or in!or ation only and its recall "ill not be re#uired !or the exa ination

.ydrogen gas is fed into the anode on one side of the cell while oxygen from the air is fed to the cathode on the other side. Under the influence of the platinum catalyst# the hydrogen gas is oxidised. ./"g$ /. 0 /e -he polymer1electrolyte membrane only allows the passage of positive ions to the cathode and the electrons are forced to the cathode via an external circuit. -his means that the electrons power the external electrical device. )t the cathode oxygen# protons and electrons form the waste product of the device which is water. +/"g$ 0 /. 0 4e /./+"l$
0 2 0

' 3 ) typical cell gives an emf of about 4.5 V but they can be connected in series to give a higher voltage or in parallel to give a higher current density in a !uel cell stac$. Ad%antages o! hydrogen !uel cells Clean technology 6 water is the only waste product .igh efficiency 6 fuel cells convert chemical energy directly to electrical energy with no combustion process 7uiet operation Relatively simple construction In recent years there has been a large increase in power density &isad%antages o! hydrogen !uel cells -hey are expensive 8torage of hydrogen poses problems as hydrogen is a very flammable and explosive gas 9resent cells are not economically viable because they last for a short time. -here is a net energy loss since the energy required to produce the hydrogen is more than that produced in its use