Electrolysis means "Splitting up with Electricity"
1) If you pass an electric current through an ionic substance that's molten or in solution, it breaks down into the elements it's made of. This is called electrolysis.
2) It requires a liquid to conduct the electricity, called the electrolyte.
3) Electrolytes contain free ions - they're usually the molten or dissolved ionic substance.
4) In either case it's the free ions which conduct the electricity and allow the whole thing to work.
5) For an electrical circuit to be complete, there's got to be a flow of electrons. Electrons are taken away from ions at the positive electrode and given to other ions at the negative electrode. As ions gain or lose electrons they become atoms or molecules and are released.
Electrolysis Reactions Involve Oxidation and Reduc
1) As well as reduction being the loss of oxygen, reduction is also a gain of electrons.
2) On the other hand, oxidation is a gain of oxygen or a loss of electrons.
3) So "reduction" and "oxidation" don't have to involve oxygen.
4) Electrolysis always involves an oxidation and a reduction.
Oxidation Is Loss Reduction Is Gain
Remember OIL RIG!
The Electrolysis of Molten Lead Bromide
When a salt (e.g. lead bromide) is molten it will conduct electricity.