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The negative electrode is connected to the negative terminal of cell/battery in a DC circuit. This electrode is called the cathode. Think of the cathode as being covered with electrons that are coming from the cell. So the cathode is negatively charged. The positive electrode is called the anode. This is connected to the positive terminal of the cell/battery. Think of the anode as having a lack of electrons. So the anode is positively charged. Let's pick an electrolyte to split apart! Soluble sodium chloride is our electrolyte. It's dissolved in an aqueous solution, so positively charged sodium ions (cations) and negatively charged chloride ions (anions) are not held in fixed positions, rather they are feely moving about in the solution. How do we split apart these cations and anions away from each other? Remember this simple but important rule - opposites attract. The positively charged sodium ions are attracted to the cathode as it is "covered" with negatively charged electrons. Alternatively, CATions are attracted to the CAThode. Likewise, ANions are attracted to the ANode. Or, negatively charged chloride ions become attracted and move to the anode, because the anode lacks negative electrons (electron deficient). Since the anode lacks electrons, the anode is a positive electrode. Remember: opposites attract. There you have it, you have split the electrolyte sodium chloride.
Example of an electrolyte. Sodium chloride in the solid state, is an ionic compound that has positively charged sodium ions (cations) and negatively charged chloride ions (anions) held together in fixed positions in a regular lattice structure. When this ionic compound is molten or dissolved in a solution, the cations and anions are SPLIT from their fixed positions and free to move. This electrolyte can now conduct electricity.
Why must the electrolyte be a liquid? The Ions vibrate in a solid but cannot move around. The ions are free to move in a liquid. The liquid can conduct electricity.
What does the process involve? I'm glad you asked :) Two electrodes are connected to a direct current (d.c) supply and placed into the electrolytes. The electrolyte is typically an ionic compound, for example, sodium chloride. When an ionic solid is melted or dissolved in water, the electrostatic forces of attraction (ionic bonds) between the negatively and positively charged ions, break. This allows the ions to move freely. An ionic substance with freely moving ions is called an electrolyte, because the electrolyte is the substance that is split apart. These ions were held by ionic bonds, but are now separated and freely moving. This electrolyte now contains freely moving charged particles (ions) so it can generate an electricity.
Conclusion: Electrolysis is a scientific way of splitting substances. Electrolysis means "current-splitting" - it involves the separation of substances through an electric current.
ELECTROLYSIS Electro = an electric current made up of freely moving electrons Lysis = to split/break apart Simple Definition: Electrolysis is the process of splitting up molten/dissolved substances, using an electric current. Scientific Explanation: Electrolysis uses electrical energy, transferred from a direct current supply, to split apart (decompose) electrolytes. Decompose: The prefix "De" means opposite. "Compose" means to join together. Therefore, decompose means to split apart. Electrolyte: "Electro" refers to a current. "Lyte" is the substance being split apart. The electrolyte is the substance that is being split apart by an electric current. Direct Current supply (DC) = Is a circuit in which current flows in one direction. Electrons are negatively charged, and so are attracted to the positive end of a battery and repelled by the negative end. So when the battery is hooked up to something that lets the electrons flow through it, they flow from negative to positive. Remember this important rule in science - opposites attract.
Electrolysis results in either oxidation or reduction. It is the process of effecting chemical change through the allocation of electric current in a substance. The positively charged ions move towards the negatively charged ions and receive electrodes and vice versa.
During electrolysis: Positively charged ions moves to the negative electrode. -They receive electrons and are known as reduced. Negatively charged ions move to the positive electrode. -They lose electrons and are oxidised. -The substance that is broken down is called the electrolyte.
I hope this helps ELECTROLYSIS Ionic substances contain charged particles called ions. For example, lead bromide contains positively charged lead ions and negatively charged bromide ions. Electrolysis is the process by which ionic substances are decomposed (broken down) into simpler substances when an electric current is passed through them. Electricity is the flow of electrons or ions. For electrolysis to work, the compound must contain ions. Covalent compounds cannot act as electrolytes because they contain neutral atoms. The ions must be free to move, which is possible when an ionic substance is dissolved in water or it is melted. For example, if electricity is passed through molten lead bromide, the lead bromide is broken down to form lead and bromine. Two electrodes connected to a cell. The negative electrode attracts positive ions and the positive electrode attracts negative ions. This is what happens during electrolysis: Positively charged ions move to the negative electrode during electrolysis. They receive electrons and are reduced. Negatively charged ions move to the positive electrode during electrolysis. They lose electrons and are oxidised. The substance that is broken down is called the electrolyte. ELECTROLYTE To be an electrolyte, a substance must be able to conduct electricity. To test for conductivity, include a sample of the substance in a circuit that contains a source of direct current (eg a cell or power pack) and a bulb or an ammeter. If a current flows through the substance when it is molten or dissolved, it is an electrolyte.
Electrolysis is a process by which electrical energy is used to produce a chemical change. Perhaps the most familiar example of electrolysis is the decomposition (breakdown) of water into hydrogen and oxygen by means of an electric current. The electrolysis of water illustrates the changes that take place when an electric current passes through a chemical compound. Water consists of water molecules, represented by the formula H2O. In any sample of water, some small fraction of molecules exist in the form of ions, or charged particles. Ions are formed in water when water molecules break apart to form positively charged hydrogen ions and negatively charged hydroxide ions. The equipment used for electrolysis of a compound consists of three parts: a source of DC (direct) current; two electrodes; and an electrolyte. A common arrangement consists of a battery (the source of current) whose two poles are attached to two strips of platinum metal (the electrodes), which are immersed in water to which a few drops of sulfuric acid have been added (the electrolyte). Electrolysis begins when electrical current (a flow of electrons) flows out of one pole of the battery into one electrode, the cathode. Positive hydrogen ions (H+) in the electrolyte pick up electrons from that electrode and become neutral hydrogen molecules (H2). As the electrolysis of water occurs, one can see tiny bubbles escaping from the electrolyte at the cathode. These are bubbles of hydrogen gas.
In chemistry and manufacturing, electrolysis is a technique that uses a direct electric current (DC) to drive an otherwise non-spontaneous chemical reaction. Electrolysis is commercially important as a stage in the separation of elements from naturally occurring sources such as ores using an electrolytic cell. The voltage that is needed for electrolysis to occur is called the decomposition potential.