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Electrolysis - study the effect of current upon the mass of nickel deposited at the cathode.

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Introduction

Electrolysis Prediction I have decided to study the effect of current upon the mass of nickel deposited at the cathode. I think that as you increase the current the mass of nickel deposited at the cathode will increase in proportion. Also that the mass loss at the anode will be equal to the mass gained at the cathode. Obtaining Current (A) Mass of cathode at start (g) Mass of cathode at end (g) Increase in mass of cathode (g) Mass of anode at start (g) Mass of anode at end (g) Decrease in mass at anode (g) 0.2 1.331 1.306 1.340 1.383 1.355 1.390 0.052 0.049 0.050 1.32 1.352 1.347 1.280 1.294 1.293 0.052 0.058 0.054 0.4 1.530 1.501 1.435 1.640 1.594 1.522 0.110 0.093 0.087 1.520 1.461 1.395 1.411 1.345 1.290 0.109 0.116 0.105 0.6 1.475 1.521 1.395 1.620 1.651 1.535 0.145 0.130 0.140 1.520 1.385 1.482 1.326 1.224 1.327 0.194 0.161 0.155 0.8 1.385 1.372 1.435 1.548 1.542 1.604 0.163 0.170 0.169 1.432 1.501 1.395 1.204 1.300 1.180 0.192 0.201 0.215 Any anomalous results I find I will not include in the calculation for the average. I have highlighted any anomalous results. ...read more.

Middle

The reaction taking place at the cathode is: Ni2+ + 2e Ni Electrolysis is the flow of electrons, which splits up a compound using electricity. The ions only start to move when current is present and when they become charged, this allows them to move when they become molten or a liquid. In our case the nickel sulphate solution. The cathode is negative; it attracts positive ions (nickel). When the nickel reaches the cathode they pick up electrons from the cathode and turn into neutral atoms. As you can see in the above equation this has happened. The nickel has a 'plus 2' charge and has been attracted to the cathode because its negative. The nickel has picked up two negative electrons to make the nickel neutral. I have drawn a diagram below to try and help to understand the reaction better: The accuracy is very versatile due to the wide range of error that could occur. The amount of error occurs more when the current increases as you can see from my results. Current (A) Average Increase at cathode (g) Average decrease at anode (g) 0.2 0.0503 0.0546 0.4 0.096 0.11 0.6 0.138 0.158 0.8 0.167 0.202 The theoretical values have such a difference to my actual results because of the area of error, because some ions and atoms of nickel were lost. ...read more.

Conclusion

I would do this by using more accurate current equipment. I could also make sure the nickel cathode was completely dry before I weighed it. I could perhaps dry it with a hair dryer or just simply leave it for longer so the liquid has more time to evaporate. Another way to make my results more accurate is to make sure the electrodes are parallel by using a spirit level. I could also make sure the electrodes are at the same depth each time. Other extra experiment I could do to support my conclusion more strongly is perhaps using a different metal like copper instead of nickel. I would have to keep all the input variables the same as what I did for nickel. I would have to find the theoretical value for copper and then do the same and then compare the two results and the two graphs to see if they are similar. If they are then it would back up my conclusion. Another experiment would be to use a higher concentration of nickel sulphate solution. This would back up my conclusion if the results were similar. I would have to keep all the variables the same but change the concentration of the solution. I would again make a table of results and a graph and compare the two. (MB) Set 1 30/04/07 Sam Rogers 11CB ...read more.

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