Electrolysis of Aqueous and Molten Ionic substances

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Jagan Annamaraju   10AN

Electrolysis of Aqueous and Molten Ionic substances

Electrolysis is ‘a chemical change caused by passing an electric current through a compound which is either molten or in solution’. It is essentially the breaking down of a compound by the action of electricity.

Electrolysis works only with ionic substances, as they involve charged atoms (ions). Usually, due to the strong electrostatic bonds, ionic substances are hard solids. This means that the electrons are held rigidly in place, they are immobile. So, as electrolysis consists of moving charges (electrons), we require the ionic substance to be aqueous or molten, so the electrons are free and mobile, so can flow to cause a charge.

Equipment used during electrolysis:

Cathode is negative electrode. Anode is positive electrode. A cation is a positively charged atom and an anion is a negatively charged atom. The anion is attracted to the anode, and the cation is attracted to the cathode.

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The electrolyte is the substance which undergoes electrolysis.

The current flows from the cathode to the anode.

The electrons are pumped to one of the electrodes, which is the cathode (so it is negative), and away from one electrode, which is the anode (so it is positive).

So the cathode is full of electrons, so cations (positive ions) go there to gain electrons, get reduced. And the anode has less electrons, so anions (negative electrons) go there to loose electrons, get oxidised.

 So the cations move to the cathode during electrolysis where they receive electrons to ...

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