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An Investigation Into the Factors Which Effect the Electrolysis of Copper Sulphate Solution.

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Introduction

An investigation into the factors which effect The electrolysis of copper sulphate solution. Task: My task is to find out how we can increase the mass of the cathode, and how different methods affect it. We know that by passing an electric current through an aqueous copper sulphate solution, that ions passing through this solution will cause anions to be dissolved into the solution from the anode, and deposited on the cathode. Diagram: Equipment needed: * 2 copper strips (anode and cathode) * 50ml Copper sulphate solution (aq) * 1 voltmeter * 1 power supply * 1 variable resistor Method: First, I shall weigh the anode and cathode, and label them. I shall then set up the experiment, as shown above, and set the current at 0.1 amps. I shall then leave it for 5 minutes for electrolysis to take place, before weighing the anode and cathode, and increasing the current to 0.2 amps, re-weighing the anode and cathode, then 0.3 amps and so on, up to 0.9 amps. I shall repeat this, but I do not feel that I shall have time to repeat it twice. ...read more.

Middle

Prediction: I predict that the relationship will be directly proportional between the amount of current flowing and the mass of the copper deposited on the cathode. Therefore, I can predict that if for instance I doubled the amount of current, I would double the amount of copper deposited. Faraday's laws can back up this statement. Faraday's first law of electrolysis is that: "The mass of any element deposited during electrolysis is directly proportional to the number of coulombs of electricity passed" Faraday's second law is that: "The mass of an element deposited by one faraday of electricity is equal to the atomic mass in grams of the element divided by the number of electrons required to discharge one ion of the element." Quantitative predictions: It is possible to get a rough idea of how the results may turn out, by using quantitative predictions, to work out the approximate mass. This can be done using a series of equations: * Charge = current x time (s) * Moles of electrons or faradays = charge / 96500 * Moles of copper = moles of electrons or faradays / ratio = 2 * Mass = moles x RAM If the current is 0.2A and the time taken is 5 minutes * Charge = 0.2 x (5x60) ...read more.

Conclusion

Evaluation: Although the experiment was successful, and I have obtained good enough results to form a valid conclusion, there were some factors of the experiment, which could have been improved to make the experiment even more successful. Possibly the largest factor was the electrodes, which could have had dirt on the surface, which could have slowed the electrolysis process. To improve this, it may have been necessary to clean the electrodes before use. Another factor was the way that the surface liquid was removed, which unfortunately in most cases was not entirely, which could have drastically affected the results. To solve this, a possible way may have been to wash them in water, and then to dip them in a highly volatile solution, such as propanone, which would have of rapidly evaporated if placed next to a radiator, or left to evaporate naturally. Another factor was the inaccuracy of the current, due to perhaps heat or resistances increase in the solution. Unfortunately there is no way around this problem, other than to try and maintain the current using the variable resistor. I found this experiment very interesting, and am looking forward to perhaps investigating the other variable to find how they affect the mass at the cathode. Luke Rice 1 ...read more.

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