Electrolysis Basics

Electrolysis is the breaking down of a substance using electricity. In electrolysis oxidation and reduction occur.

  • Oxidation- loss of electrons
  • Reduction- gain of electrons

The positive cations move towards the negative cathode and the negative anions move towards the positive anode. Reduction happens at the cathode and oxidation happens at the anode. As ions gain or lose electrons they form the uncharged substances and are discharged from the electrolyte.

  • Electrolyte- a molten or dissolved ionic compound.

Half equations show how electrons are transferred during reactions. They can show what happens at each electrode during electrolysis.

1) Put one of the things being oxidised or reduced on one side of an arrow, and the thing it gets oxidised or reduced to on the other side.

2) Balance up the number of atoms (just like a normal equation).

3) The add electrons on one side to balance up the charges.

Cathode: Na + + e - → Na

Anode: 2Cl- → Cl2 + 2e-

In aqueous solutions, as well as the ions from the ionic compound, there will be hydrogen ions (H+) and hydroxide ions


No comments have yet been made