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An investigation into the amount of copper deposited on the anode and cathode during electrolysis

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Introduction

An investigation into the amount of copper deposited on the anode and cathode during electrolysis I am aiming to discover a relationship between the amount of copper deposited on the anode and cathode during electrolysis in copper sulphate solution. Background Knowledge A powerful way to decompose a substance is to pass electricity through it. This process is called electrolysis. Electrolysis occurs when two conductors are submerged in a liquid or solution. The liquid or solution in which the two conductors are submerged must be an electrical conductor. This type of solution is called an electrolyte. A commonly used electrolyte is copper sulphate solution (CuSO4). As this is commonly used for electrolysis this is the solution I decided to use. The following is information which I have taken from a science textbook. When two conductors are submerged in an electrolyte and a current is passed through, the system is known as an electrolytic cell. When a current is passed through an electrolytic cell, depending upon the orientation of the DC source, one of the conductors becomes the anode (this is positive) and the other becomes the cathode (negative). Different reactions occur at the two conductors. In the electrolyte the molecule, copper sulphate, is in solution and is separated into its two ions, Cu+ and (SO4)-. One of the ions will have a positive charge (cation) and the other a negative charge (anion). When doing this experiment there are many variables which I could change which would affect the outcome. ...read more.

Middle

Prediction From research and previous experience I know that the anode will loose mass and the cathode will gain mass. I believe that the voltage will be directly proportional to the amount of mass gained and lost, as the more voltage there is the more current there will be flowing through the circuit and the faster electrolysis will take place. I predict that as the voltage increases so will the amount of mass lost at the anode and gained at the cathode as the more voltage there is the more current there will be flowing through the circuit and the faster electrolysis will take place. I am now going to attempt to predict what my graph may look like. I think it will look something like the drawing below, I think this because whatever the anode looses the cathode will gain and so the graph should look something like the one I have predicted. Obtaining evidence I collected a good and wide ranging set of results. The following table shows my results Voltage Cathode (grams) Anode Cathode After Anode After ChangeC Change A 4 116.8 105.9 117.2 105.5 +.4 -.4 116.9 105.8 117.2 105.4 +.4 -.4 116.8 105.8 117.3 105.4 +.5 -.4 6 116.4 108.1 117.1 107.6 +.7 -.5 116.5 108 117.2 107.5 +.7 -.5 116.5 108.1 117.1 107.5 +.6 -.6 8 116.5 107.5 117.3 106.9 +.8 -.6 116.5 107.5 117.2 106.8 +.7 -.7 116.6 107.6 117.3 106.9 +.8 -.7 10 116.9 106.8 118.0 105.8 +1.1 -1 116.9 106.8 118.1 105.8 +1.2 -1 116.9 106.7 118.1 105.8 ...read more.

Conclusion

This built in statistical accuracy as by doing each one three times if I had done one wrong or there had been a mistake made it would have been highlighted by the repeated results. By repeating I could also calculate averages which led to increased accuracy. I also believe that my measurements were very reliable. I can immediately prove this due to the fact that my repeat results were always very similar to each other. For example when investigating 8 volts the anode lost 0.6g the first time then 0.7g and 0.7g in the repeat results. This shows how similar and reliable the repeat measurements were. I also can prove their reliability as if I did this experiment again I am fairly certain that the results would be very similar to the ones I have gained. The fact that I have gained no anomalous results further proves this fact. If I were to do this experiment again there are certain improvements which I would make. Firstly I would measure the current as well as the voltage so that I could use faradays law to explain and prove my theories and results. I believe that my method was quite good and that it was an accurate and quick way of finding results. If I were to change it any way I would measure the amount of the electrode covered by solution in order to gain greater accuracy of results. I would also use a precise and accurate measuring cylinder rather than one that has approximate values in order to achieve an even higher rate of accuracy. ...read more.

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