Guide to Electrolysis

Simple yet informative Guide to Electrolysis, explaining half equations, Anodes and Cathodes and Purification of Copper 

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  • Created by: Angharad
  • Created on: 19-11-11 14:43
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Guide to Electrolysis:
Electrolysis: Electrolysis is the process by which ionic substances are broken down into
simpler substances using electricity or when an electric current passes through them.
Ionic substances: they form when a metal reacts with a non metal and contain charged
particles ­ ions. Ionic substances can be broken down using electricity
During electrolysis, metals and gases may form at the electrodes
Electrolysis only works when ions are free to move, when the substance is dissolved in water
or melted
We did an experiment to show what happens in electrolysis using Copper Chlorine, the copper
chlorine is broken down to form copper metal and chlorine gas. I had two carbon rods which I
connected to a power pack with crocodile clips and put them in Copper Chloride solution, after a
while you could smell the chlorine gas. This is the outcome...
In the experiment the positively charged ions move to the negative electrode during
electrolysis and are reduced
Negatively charged ions move to the positive electrode during electrolysis loosing electrons
and are oxidised
Reduced: reaction where oxygen is removed from a substance and electrons are gained
Oxidised: reaction where oxygen combines with a substance and electrons are lost

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Purification of copper:
Electrolysis also is used in the purification of copper after the extraction of copper by
reduction with carbon. The positive electrode, the anode, is made of the impure copper
which is to be purified. The negative electrode, the cathode, is a bar of pure copper. The two
electrodes are placed in a solution of Copper Sulphate.
In this experiment, the ions are attracted to the cathode, leave the anode and are left on
the cathode as copper atoms.…read more


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