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Background information on Electrolysis.

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Introduction

Background information on Electrolysis Electrolysis is a chemical process by which electrical currents can be passed through solutions. Pure water cannot conduct electricity, but if a salt such as Sodium Chloride is dissolved in it, the solutions will start conducting if two electrodes are placed in it with a battery that provides the initial current. When we close the switch, copper ions on the anode will start to move through the solution to the cathode. The copper atoms have already given up two electrons to become ions and their electrons are free to move in the wires. Closing the switch pushes electrons clockwise and forces some copper ions into the solution. ...read more.

Middle

To prove that electricity is flowing through the current, we could add a working bulb to the circuit. If the is a current flowing, the bulb will light up, but if there is no current flowing through the circuit, the bulb will not light up. This is shown in a diagram below. However, if there is a current, but it is quite a low voltage, the bulb may not light up, despite there being an active current present. We could overcome this problem by adding an ammeter to the circuit. This would mean that the ammeter would be able to show us whether there was a current in the circuit, and how strong the current is. ...read more.

Conclusion

Aluminium The aluminium oxide is a white solid but it does not melt very easily. In order to overcome this, it is dissolve in a molten rock called cryolite.The cell is lined with graphite (carbon) as the cathode, and graphite blocks are used as the anode. At the cathode aluminium is formed according to the equation: Al3+ + 3e- ----------> Al Aluminium ions plus electrons form aluminium atoms (i.e. metallic aluminium) At the anode, the oxide ion reacts forming oxygen. 2O2- -----------> O2 + 4e- Two oxide ions (with a charge of minus 2) form an oxygen molecule and 4 electrons. The oxygen produced will react with the graphite anode forming carbon dioxide, a gas, so the anode slowly disappears and needs to be replaced. ...read more.

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