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An Investigation Into the Electrolysis Of Copper Sulphate Solution

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Introduction

An Investigation Into the Electrolysis Of Copper Sulphate Solution Skill Area P (Planning Experimental Procedures) During the work topic 'Electrochemistry,' a procedure was demonstrated in which copper sulphate solution was electrolysed. Using copper-foil electrodes, a current of 0.2A was passed through a circuit, and into the solution. After 20 minutes, it seemed that not a lot had happened, however, when at the end of this time we re-weighed the anode (positive electrode) and the cathode (negative electrode), it was discovered that the anode had lost some of it's initial mass, and the cathode had gained in mass. The loss of anode mass equalled the gain of mass on the cathode. This makes it known that by passing a constant electric current through an aqueous copper sulphate solution that the passage of ions through this solution results in copper atoms being dissolved into the solution from the anode while positive copper ions (cations) being discharged at the cathode. Normally anions are discharged at the anode. The splitting of the copper sulphate solution into its constituent elements, copper and sulphur, by electricity is known as electrolysis and the copper gained on the cathode is known as the electrolyte. From this, it would seem logical to assume that the greater the amount of electricity, the greater the amount of copper that will move from the anode to the cathode. ...read more.

Middle

The apparatus I shall use is labelled overleaf: During my experiment, it was considered that the following factors could affect the deposition of Copper metal on the cathode. 1. Time 2. Current 3. Temperature 4. Molarity/Concentration of Solution 5. Quantity of Solution 6. Size of Electrodes 7. Distance between the electrodes 8. The surface of the electrodes I must strive to try to keep these variables from affecting my results. One way is to thoroughly clean all equipment after each use. A good range and number of electrical charges to use could be achieved by having times of 5 minutes of the current flowing, and currents ranging from 0.2A to 1A. Here is a table to show how I will carry out the investigation: Current / Amperes Time / Seconds Electrical Charge /Coulombs 0.2 300 (5mins) 60 0.4 300 (5mins) 120 0.6 300 (5mins) 180 0.8 300 (5mins) 240 1.0 300 (5mins) 300 Whilst studying 'Electrochemistry,' it was realised that: '1 mole of electrons is equal to a 96,500 C electrical charge.' The figure of 96,500 C is referred to now as a faraday (F), which was named after a scientist, Michael Faraday (1791-1867), who researched the topic in its primary stages. Using this evidence, we can now predict how much copper will be formed for the given currents above. ...read more.

Conclusion

Complete drying process with hair dryer. 6) Weigh the electrodes to see how much copper has been formed and lost at the cathode and anode respectively; 7) Set up the apparatus again, using new copper sulphate solution, that is the same amount as before (probably about 200-300cm� depending on resources available) and repeat stages 1) to 6), but this time, increase the current to 0.4A for the electrolysis; 8) During this next electrolysis, plot the data obtained (using Charge (C) = Current (A) x Time (sec.) to give the electrical charge on the horizontal axis, and plot mass of copper deposited on the vertical axis. As the investigation progresses, it will then be able to be seen if any anomalous results are encountered, and if so if I will need to repeat them whilst the apparatus is still set up; 9) Repeat 7) and 8) for currents of 0.6A, 0.8A, and 1Amp. Review Of Skill P Having had the opportunity to read over my documents for the final time before undertaking the experiment, I have decided to make one slight change to my method. In part 7) on p6, I stated that I'd probably use 200-300cm� of copper sulphate solution. Having now been briefed fully on what equipment I shall have at my disposal, I will now use just 50 cm� of solution. Apart from this small but important change, I don't think I need to make any more change to my plan. ...read more.

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