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Asked by Elena

How do you work out half equations in electrolysis?

Firstly you need to know the electrolyte and thus the cation(s) and anion(s) involved. Then you know the ions will be attracted to the oppositely charged electrode and will either gain electrons to (usually) form a metal (cations at the cathode) or will lose electrons to (usually) form a gas (anions at the anode). The number of electrons will depend on the charges of the ions, but the number being given up by the anions should balance with the number being collected by the cations.

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Andrew Bradshaw
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12.2k students helped

Firstly you need to know the electrolyte and thus the cation(s) and anion(s) involved. Then you know the ions will be attracted to the oppositely charged electrode and will either gain electrons to (usually) form a metal (cations at the cathode) or will lose electrons to (usually) form a gas (anions at the anode). The number of electrons will depend on the charges of the ions, but the number being given up by the anions should balance with the number being collected by the cations.

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Andrew Bradshaw
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12.2k students helped

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