Electrolysis is the process of using electricity to break down or decompose a compound (usually an ionic compound in the molten state or in aqueous solution)
Electrolysis is carried out in an electrolytic cell.
Parts of an electrolytic cell:
- Draws electrons away from anode.
- Electrons enter the positive terminal of battery and leave from the negative terminal.
- Electrons are supplied to the cathode, which becomes negatively charged.
- An electrolyte is a molten ionic compound or an aqueous solution that can be decomposed by an electric current to form cations and anions.
- Contains mobile ions, hence allow electricity to flow through.
- Substances that do not conduct electricity under any condition are called non-electrolyte.
- Example: Sulfur, sugar, distilled water, organic compounds.
- Electrodes conduct electricity.
- Electrodes connected to the positive terminal of the battery is called the anode.
- Electrodes connected to the negative terminal of the battery is called the cathode.
- Usually carbon (graphite) rods or metal plates.
- Inert electrodes do not affect the type of product produced at the electrode.
- Examples of inert electrodes: platinum, carbon (graphite)