Electrolysis Assignment Help | Electrolysis Homework Help


In nature atoms of electrolyte are closely bound together but bond becomes weaker and molecule of the electrolyte breaks up into two groups of ions carrying electric charges and moving freely in the solution. The hydrogen and metal ions carry positive charge and are known as captions and other have negative charge and are known as anions.

Now if the two electrodes are dipped into the electrolyte and potential difference is applied across these electrodes, the electrode connected to positive terminal of the supply mains becomes anode and the electrode connected to the –ve terminal of the supply mains becomes cathode. Since opposite charges attract each other therefore ions associated with positive charge known as captions and moving freely in the solution are attracted by the cathode and the ions associate with negative charge known as anion and anode. The movement of these ions constitutes a flow of electric current through the electrolyte.

For example, when copper sulphate (CuSO4) is dissolved in water, immediately molecules CuSO4 break up into Cu++ (copper positive) ions and SO4- -( negative sulhpate ) ions moving freely in the solution. Now if two electrodes are immured in the electrolyte being positively charged move towards the cathode and SO4- -ions reaches the anode it give sup two electrons and ceases to be an ion similarly when the Cu++  ion reaches cathode, it take stow electrons from the cathode an becomes a metallic atom of copper. So the electrons move from anode to cathode in the external circuit and constitute flow of current in the electrolyte from anode to cathode.

As mentioned above in preceding paragraph each copper ion (Cu++) on reaching the cathode takes two electrons form cathode becomes atom of metallic copper and deposits on the cathode. Each SO4- - ion reaching the anode gives up two additional electrons to the anode and becomes SO4 radical but since SO4 radical can not exist n the electrical neutral state, so it will attack the anode and will form the corresponding sulphate of the material of the anode if the anode is of such a material, which can be attacked by SO4, for example if anode is of copper then CuSO4 will be formed, which can be attacked by SO4 for example if anode is of copper then CuSO4 will be formed, but if the anode SO4 will react with water forming sulphuric acid and liberating oxygen according to chemical reaction.

2SO4 + 2H2O → 2H2 SO4 + O2

The whole process described above is known as electrolysis.

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