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Electrolysis


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#1 xoxAshaxox

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Posted 1 June 2006 - 08:42 AM

I am a GCSE student and I don't understand Electrolysis, I need to know this for my exam! Help would be much apperciated!

Thanks :-)
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#2 alice

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Posted 1 June 2006 - 09:45 AM

I found this in wikipedia. It's easy to understand.

Electrolysis is a method of separating bonded elements and compounds by passing an electric current through them.

An ionic compound is dissolved with an appropriate solvent, or otherwise melted by heat, so that its ions are available in the liquid. An electrical current is applied between a pair of inert electrodes immersed in the liquid. The negatively charged electrode is called the cathode, and the positively charged one the anode. Each electrode attracts ions which are of the opposite charge. Therefore, positively charged ions (called cations) move towards the cathode, while negatively charged ions (termed anions) move toward the anode. The energy required to separate the ions, and cause them to gather at the respective electrodes, is provided by an electrical power supply. At the probes, electrons are absorbed or released by the ions, forming a collection of the desired element or compound.

Good luck with your test!:-)
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#3 xoxAshaxox

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Posted 4 June 2006 - 07:47 PM

Thank you alice! You have helped me! :)
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#4 alice

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Posted 5 June 2006 - 08:14 AM

The pleasure is mine. How did you do in your test?:-)
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#5 KFC

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Posted 5 June 2006 - 09:58 PM

When you do eletrolyse on Magnesium Sulphate you get Hydrogen and Sulfur Dioxide?
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#6 DaWiz

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 10:41 PM

Magnesium Sulphate shouldn't produce sulfur dioxide...it should produce O2. Sulfate ions are actually difficult to oxidize, which is why it is a preferred anion to use in electrolysis: sulfuric acid is basically a standard, but sodium sulfate is a good alternative (I use it in my home experiments):-)

Edited by DaWiz, 20 April 2009 - 01:38 AM.

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#7 Theophrastus

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 10:55 PM

Where did you attain the hydrogen ion? In the electrolysis of pure (molten!)magnesium sulfate, you attain magnesium at one end, and a sulfate ion on the other. The sulfate then decomposes to form sulfur dioxide (a rather poisonous gas) and diatomic oxygen. However, while early on, many people see electrolysis as the source of all their problems, electrolysis of salts is often very difficult due to the high temperatures involved (as they must be in a liquid form), and use of an aqueous solution often interferes with the attainment of desired products. Without a high current, its also a rather slow process, certainly not an optimum one. It's not, by any means the "magic bullet."
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#8 UC

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 06:11 AM

Where did you attain the hydrogen ion? In the electrolysis of pure (molten!)magnesium sulfate, you attain magnesium at one end, and a sulfate ion on the other. The sulfate then decomposes to form sulfur dioxide (a rather poisonous gas) and diatomic oxygen. However, while early on, many people see electrolysis as the source of all their problems, electrolysis of salts is often very difficult due to the high temperatures involved (as they must be in a liquid form), and use of an aqueous solution often interferes with the attainment of desired products. Without a high current, its also a rather slow process, certainly not an optimum one. It's not, by any means the "magic bullet."


MgSO4 decomposes before it melts.
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#9 Theophrastus

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 09:24 PM

Ah, thanks for the clarification, i was thinking in more of a theoretical context. However, I do have a question, simply under heat, were one to perform the decomposition of magnesium sulfate, would the reaction ensue like this:

MgSO4 > MgS + 2O2

or

MgSO4 > Mg + SO2 + O2

I understend that what would occur would also be based upon the decomposition point of MgS, so, what would occur?
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#10 hermanntrude

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 10:42 PM

have a look at this helpful link

first hit will give you the info you want.
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#11 Theophrastus

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 09:09 PM

"Was that so hard" - lol.

Sorry, due to outward laziness, I generally ignore the magic of google, and simply post certain questions, hoping for a reply. My general apologies

ps: Laziness does have its upsides, however. For example, one of my friends, mutters "rather nasty curse words" to me, under his breath in french, when he is angry. Now, were I to have the "determination" and "work- ethic" to translate these words, I might be offended. Instead laziness prevails, and there is no unnecessary strain upon our friendship. May laziness flourish, to the detriment of virtue! (Sorry, that last note, may be a little on the anarchistic/ communistic side)

pps: Yes, I know, my carbohydrate intake, is clearly excessive. Ah, sucrose...
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