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Introduction

Electrolysis decomposition of compound using electricity


Electrolyte
an ionic compound which conducts electric current in molten or
aqueous solution, being decomposed in the process.
Electrode
a rod or plate where electricity enters or leaves electrolyte during
electrolysis.
Reactions occur at electrodes.
Discharge
the removal of electrons from negative ions to form atoms or the gain
of electrons of positive ions to become atoms.
Anode
positive electrode connected to positive terminal of d.c. source.
Oxidation occurs here.
Anode loses negative charge as electrons flow towards the
battery, leaving anode positively charged.
This causes anion to discharge its electrons here to replace lost
electrons and also, negative charge are attracted to positive
charge.
Cathode
negative electrode connected to negative terminal of d.c.
source.
Reduction occurs here.
Cathode gains negative charge as electrons flow from the
battery towards the cathode, making cathode negatively
charged.
This causes cation to be attracted and gains electrons to be an
atom.
Anion
negative ion
attracted to anode.
Cation
positive ion
attracted to cathode.

Non-electrolytes Weak electrolytes Strong electrolytes
Organic liquids or solutions Weak acids and alkalis
Strong acids, alkalis and salt
solutions
ethanol C
2
H
5
OH
tetrachloromethane CCl
4

trichloromethane CHCl
3

pure water H
2
O
sugar solution C
12
H
22
O
11

molten sulphur S
limewater Ca(OH)
2

ammonia solution NH
3

aqueous ethanonoic acid
CH
3
COOH
aqueous sulphurous acid
H
2
SO
3

aqueous carbonic acid H
2
CO
3

aqueous sulphuric acid H
2
SO
4

aquous nitric acid HNO3
aquous hydrochloric acid HCl
aqueous potassium hydroxide
KOH
aqueous sodium hydroxide
NAOH
copper(II) sulphate solution
Cu
S
O
4


Electrolysis of Molten Compounds
Molten/aqueous ionic compounds conduct electricity because ions free to
move.
In solid state, these ions are held in fixed position within the crystal lattice.
Hence solid ionic compounds do not conduct electricity.
When molten binary compound is electrolysed, metal is formed on cathode
while non-metal is formed on anode.
Example
Electrolysis of molten PbBr
2


To make molten lead(II) bromide, PbBr
2
, we strongly heat the solid until it melts. To
electrolyse it, pass current through the molten PbBr
2
.

What happens:

Ions present: Pb
2+
and Br
-


Reaction at Anode

Br- loses electrons at anode to become Br atoms. Br atoms created form bond
together to make Br2 gas.

2Br
-
(aq) -->Br
2
(g)+2e
-

Reaction at Cathode

Pb
2+
gains electrons at cathode to become Pb atoms becoming liquid lead (II).
Pb
2+
(aq) +2e
-
-->Pb(l)

Overall equation

PbBr
2
(l) -->Pb(l) +Br
2
(g)
Electrolysis of Aqueous Solution
Aqueous solutions contain additional H
+
and OH
-
ions of water, totaling 4 ions
in the solution :
o 2 from electrolyte, 2 from water.
o Only 2 of these are discharged.
Electrolysis of aqueous solutions use the theory of selective discharge.

At cathode
In CONCENTRATED solutions of nickel/lead compound, nickel/lead will be
discharged instead of hydrogen ions of water which is less reactive than
nickel/lead.
In VERY DILUTE solutions, hydrogen, copper and silver ions are preferable to
be discharged, according to its ease to be discharged.
Reactive ions (potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, aluminium) will
NEVER BE DISCHARGED in either concentrated or dilute condition. Instead,
hydrogen ions from water will be discharged at cathode.
At anode
In CONCENTRATED solutions, iodine/chlorine/bromine ions are preferable to
be discharged, although its harder to discharged compared to hydroxide ions.
In VERY DILUTE solutions containing iodide/chloride/bromide ions, hydroxide
ions of water will be discharged instead of iodide/chloride/bromide, according
to ease of discharge.
Sulphate and nitrate are NEVER DISCHARGED in concentrated/dilute
solutions.
Examples
A. Concentration Solutions

Electrolysis of Concentrated NaCl

What happens:

Ions Present: Na
+
, H
+
, OH
-
and Cl
-


Reaction at Anode
Cl
-
loses electrons at anode to become Cl atoms, although OH
-
is easier to
discharge.
Cl atoms created form covalent bond together to make Cl
2
gas.
2Cl
-
(aq) -->Cl
2
(g) +2e
-

Reaction at Cathode
H
+
gains electrons at cathode to become H atoms becoming hydrogen gas
2H
+
(aq) +2e
-
-->H
2
(l)
Overall Equation

2HCl(l) -->H
2
(l) +Cl
2
(g)

Note: any cation and anion left undischarged in solution forms new bonds between
them.
E.g. in above, leftovers Na
+
and OH
-
combine to form NaOH.

B. Very Dilute Solutions

Electrolysis of Dilute H2SO4

What happens:

Ions Present: H
+
, OH
-
and SO
4
2-

Reaction at Anode
OH- loses electrons at anode to become O
2
and H
2
O.
4OH
-
(aq) -->O
2
(g) +2H
2
O (l) +4e
-

Reaction at Cathode
H
+
gains electrons at cathode to become H atoms becoming hydrogen gas.
2H
+
(aq) +2e
-
-->H
2
(g)
Overall Equation
Both equations must be balanced first.
The cathode equation is short 2 electrons. Hence, we should first even them
by multiplying cathode equation by 2.
o (2H
+
(aq) +2e
-
-->H
2
(g)) x 2 =4H
+
(aq) +4e
-
-->2H
2
(g)
Now we can combine the equations, forming:
o 4H
+
(aq) +4OH
+
(aq) -->2H
2
(g) +O
2
(g) +2H
2
O (l)
4H
+
and 4OH
+
ions, however, combine to form 4H
2
O molecules.
o Hence: 4H
2
O (l) -->2H
2
(g) +O
2
(g)+2H
2
O (l)
H
2
O molecules are formed on both sides.
o Therefore, they cancel the coefficients: 2H
2
O (l) -->2H
2
(g) +O
2
(g)
Since only water is electrolysed, the sulfuric acid now only becomes
concentrated.
Electrolysis using different types of electrodes
Inert Electrodes are electrodes which do not react with electrolyte or products
during electrolysis.
o Eg. platinum and graphite.
Active Electrodes are electrodes which react with products of electrolysis,
affecting the course of electrolysis.
o Eg. copper.
A. Electrol ysis of CuSO
4
Using Inert Electrodes (e.g. carbon)

What happens:

Ions Present: Cu
2+
, H
+
, OH
-
and SO
4
2-


Reaction at Anode
OH
-
loses electrons at anode to become O
2
and H
2
O.
4OH
-
(aq) -->O
2
(g) +2H
2
O (l) +4e
-

Reaction at Cathode
Cu
2+
gains electrons at cathode to become Cu atoms becoming liquid copper.
Hydrogen ions are not discharged because copper is easier to discharge.
Cu
2+
(aq) +2e
-
-->Cu (s)
Overall Equation
Both equations must be balanced first.
The cathode equation is short 2 electrons. Hence, we should first even them
by multiplying cathode equation by 2.
o (Cu
2+
(aq) +2e
-
-->Cu (s)) x 2 =2Cu
2+
(aq) +4e
-
-->2Cu (s)
Now we can combine the equations, forming:
o 2Cu(OH)
2
(aq) -->2Cu (s) +O
2
(g) +2H
2
O (l)
Since copper ions in solution are used up, the blue colour fades.
Hydrogen and sulphate ions left forms sulphuric acid.
B. Electrolysis of CuSO
4
Using Acti ve Electrodes (e.g. copper)

Ions Present: Cu
2+
, H
+
, OH
-
and SO
4
2-

Reaction at Anode
Both SO
4
2-
and OH
-
gets attracted here but not discharged. Instead, the
copper anode discharged by losing electrons to form Cu
2+
. So, the electrode
size decreases.
Cu (s) -->Cu
2+
(aq) +2e
-

Reaction at Cathode
Cu
2+
produced from anode gains electrons at cathode to become Cu atoms
becoming copper. Hence, the copper is deposited here and the electrode
grows.
Cu
2+
(aq) +2e
-
-->Cu (s)
Overall Change
There is no change in solution contents as for every lost of Cu
2+
ions at
cathode is replaced by Cu
2+
ions released by dissolving anode.
Only the cathode increases size by gaining copper and anode decreases size
by losing copper.
We can use this method to create pure copper on cathode by using pure
copper on cathode and impure copper on anode.
Impurities of anode falls under it.
Electroplating
Electroplating is coating an object with thin layer of metal by electrolysis. This
makes the object protected and more attractive.
Object to be plated is made to be cathode and the plating metal is made as
anode.
The electrolyte MUST contain plating metal cation.
Plating Iron object with Nickel

Reaction at Anode
Ni
2+
discharged from anode into solution. So, the electrode size decreases.
Ni (s) -->Ni
2+
(aq) +2e
-

Reaction at Cathode
Ni
2+
produced from anode gains electrons at cathode to become Ni atoms
becoming nickel. Hence, the nickel is deposited here and the electrode grows.
Ni
2+
(aq) +2e
-
-->Ni (s)
Overall Change
There is no change in solution contents while iron object receives nickel
deposit.
Uses of Electroplating
Creation of Electric Cells by Electrolysis
A Simple cell or an Electric cell is a device that converts chemical energy into electrical energy, and
it consists of 2 electrodes made of 2 metals of different reactivity.
In a simple cell, the MORE REACTIVE metal/electrode is ALWAYS designated
the NEGATIVE electrode
The anode (negative electrode) is made of more reactive metal. This is
because they have more tendency of losing electrons.
The cathode (positive electrode) is made of less reactive metal.
The further apart the metals in the reactivity series, the higher the voltage created.
The electrons in a simple cell will ALWAYS flow from the NEGATIVE electrode
(made of the MORE reactive metal) to the POSITIVE electrode.
Eg. A simple electric cell using zinc and copper



Observation: bubbles of hydrogen gas appear at the copper rod.

Explanation: Zinc is more reactive than copper. Thus, it is more electropositive than copper, meaning that zinc
loses electrons more easily than copper. As a result, oxidation occurs at the zinc rod (the anode) and zinc metal
loses electrons to become zinc ions, that is, Zn (s) - 2e
-
--> Zn
2+
(aq)

The electrons then flow from the zinc rod to the copper rod through the external circuit. At the copper rod,
reduction occurs - the hydrogen ions in solution accept these electrons to form hydrogen gas;
2H
+
(aq) + 2e
-
-->H
2
(g)
This explains why bubbles of gas are produced at the copper rod when the two rods are connected by a wire.

The magnitude of the voltage (potential difference) is related to the positions of the two
metals in the reactivity series. The further apart the two metals, the larger will be the potential
difference (voltage) produced.




Electrolytic cell vs Electrochemical cell
Electrolytic cell Electrochemical cell
Converts chemical energy into electrical
energy
Converts electrical energy into chemical
energy
Redox reaction is spontaneous and is
responsible for the production of
electrical energy
Redox reaction is not spontaneous and
electrical energy has to be supplied to
initiate the reaction
The two half-cells are set up in different
containers which are connected through
a salt bridge or porous partition
Both the electrodes are placed in the same
container in a solution of molten
electrolyte.
The anode is the negati ve electrode
while the cathode is the positive
electrode.
The reaction at the anode is oxidation
and the reaction at the cathode is
reduction.
The anode is the positi ve electrode while
the cathode is the negative electrode.
The reaction at the anode is oxidation
and the reaction at the cathode is
reduction.
Electrons are supplied by the species
getting oxidized.
They move from anode to the cathode
in the external circuit.
An external battery supplies the electrons,
which enter through the cathode and
come out through the anode.
Factors affecting electrolysis
Concentration
Type of electrode
Concentration
If the concentration of a particular ion is high, then this can alter thepreferential
discharge
If dilute hydrochloric acid is electrolysed, hydrogen gas is given off at the cathode
and oxygen gas at the anode. However, when concentrated hydrochloric acid is
electrolysed, hydrogen gas is still given off at the cathode, but chlorine gas is given
off at the anode.
This is because although the chloride ion is harder to discharge than the hydroxide
ion, its high concentration makes it more likely to be discharged.
Type of electrode

Eg. electrolysis of aqueous copper(II) sulphate solution

Use Carbon Electrodes:
Carbon electrodes are inert and so do not affect the electrolysis
At the anode, we have a choice of sulphate or hydroxide ions, and hydroxide ions are
easier to discharge so oxygen gas is given at the anode
4OH
-
(aq) +O
2
(g) --->O
2
(g) +2H
2
O (l) +4e
-

At the cathode, we have a choice of copper or hydrogen ions. Copper ions are easier
to discharge so we will see a pink deposit of copper metal on the carbon electrode
Cu
2+
(aq) +2e
-
--->Cu (s)
Use Copper Electrodes
Copper electrodes are active and so will affect electrolysis
At the anode, the copper electrode dissolves into solution
Cu (s) --->Cu
2+
(aq) +2e
-

At the cathode, the copper ions are deposited as pink copper metal
Cu
2+
(aq) +2e
-
--->Cu (s)
==========================================
MCQ Questions
1. Electricity can pass through molten lead(II) bromide because of the
presence of
a. free electrons
b. moveable ions
c. moveable atoms
d. lead metal

2. When a dilute salt water is electrol ysed, a colorless gas is given off at the
anode. The gas is
a. hydrogen
b. steam
c. oxygen
d. chlorine

3. A solution of copper(II) sulphate is electrol ysed, using carbon electrodes.
The pinkish deposit which forms on one of the electrodes is
a. copper
b. copper(I) oxide
c. copper(II) oxide
d. copper(III) sulphide

4. A solution of copper(II) sulphate is electrol ysed, using copper electrodes.
Which of the following would happen?
a. the anode loses weight
b. the cathode loses weight
c. the solution darkens in color
d. the solution lightens in color

5. An electrol yte is always
a. an acid or alkali
b. an aqueous solution
c. a liquid
d. a molten solid
6. Anions are formed by
a. metals gaining electrons
b. metals losing electrons
c. non-metals gaining electrons
d. non-metals losing electrons

7. Which of these anions is never discharged at the positive electrode during
electrolysis?
a. NO
3
-

b. OH
-
c. I
-
d. O
2-


8. In the electrol ytic manufacture of aluminium, what is the anode made of?
a. copper
b. graphite
c. platinum
d. steel

9. In which electrolyte would a carbon cathode increase in mass during
electrolysis?
a. aqueous copper(II) sulphate
b. concentrated hydrochloric acid
c. concentrated aqueous sodium chloride
d. dilute sulphuric acid

10. Chlorine is manufactured commercially by the electrol ysis of aqueous
sodium chloride (brine). Which other important products are made in the
process?
a. hydrochloric acid and hydrogen
b. hydrogen and sodium
c. hydrogen and sodium hydroxide
d. sodium and sodium hydroxide

11. An electric current is passed through aqueous potassium sulphate, K
2
SO
4
.

What is formed at the cathode (negative electrode)?
a. hydrogen
b. oxygen
c. potassium
d. sulphur

12. What happens when molten lead(II) chloride is electrol ysed?
a. chloride ions gain electrons at the cathode
b chloride ions lose electrons at the anode
c. lead(II) ions lose electrons at the cathode
d. lead(II) ions move towards the anode

13. Which element is liberated at a carbon cathode when aqueous sodium
chloride is electrolysed?
a. chlorine
b. hydrogen
c. oxygen
d. sodium

14. Which change always takes place when aqueous copper(II) sulphate is
electrolysed?
a. copper is deposited at the negative electrode
b. oxygen is evolved at the positive electrode
c. sulphate ions move towards the negative electrode
d. the color of the solution fades

15. Which element is liberated at the cathode by the electrol ysis of an aqueous
solution containing its ions?
a. bromine
b. chlorine
c. hydrogen
d. oxygen

16. Aqueous copper(II) sulphate is electrolysed using copper electrodes.
Which observations will be made?
at anode (positive) at cathode (negative)
a anode dissolves pink solid forms
b anode dissolves pink solid forms
c color gas forms color gas forms
d color gas forms pink solid forms

17. Why is cryolite, Na
3
AlF
6
, used in the extraction of aluminium from
aluminium oxide?
a. to dissolve aluminium oxide
b. to prevent the anodes from burning away
c. to prevent the oxidation of the aluminium
d. to remove impurities from the aluminium oxide

18. When sodium chloride was electrolysed, sodium was produced at the
negative electrode. In which form was the sodium chloride during the
electrolysis?
a. concentrated aqueous solution
b. dilute aqueous solution
c. molten
d. solid

19. In which instance is there no change in the concentration of the solution
during electrol ysis?
a. concentrated sodium chloride solution between carbon electrodes
b. copper(II) sulfate solution between copper electrodes
c. copper(II) sulfate solution between platinum electrodes
d. dilute sodium chloride solution between platinum electrodes

20. An example of a weak electrolyte is
a. alcohol
b. salt solution
c. sugar solution
d. ammonia solution

21. Electroplating iron with zinc is called galvanising. The reaction at the cathode is
shown by the equation
a. Fe (s) --->Fe
2+
(aq) +2e-
b. Fe
2+
(aq) +2e
-
--->Fe (s)
c. Zn (s) --->Zn
2+
(aq) +2e
-

d. Zn
2+
(aq) +2e
-
--->Zn (s)

22. The circuit shown below was set up, with brass as the anode.

Which electrode reactions will occur on closing the switch?
Anode reaction Cathode reaction
a. Copper dissolves preferentially. Copper is deposited.
b. Copper dissolves preferentially. Hydrogen is evolved.
c. Zinc dissolves preferentially. Hydrogen is evolved.
d. Zinc and copper both dissolve. Copper is deposited.

23. During the electrolysis of concentrated sodium chloride in a cell, chlorine, hydrogen,
and sodium hydroxide are produced. What is the molar ratio of these products?
Chlorine Hydrogen Sodium hydroxide
a. 1 1 1
b. 2 1 2
c. 2 1 1
d. 2 2 1
Answers
1. b
2. c
3. a
4. a
5. c
6. c
7. a
8. b
9. a
10. c
11. a (H
+
and K
+
ions in the electrolyte migrate to the cathode. H
+
are preferentially
discharged to form hydrogen gas because it is lower down in the electrochemical
series than K
+
ions)
12. b (the negative chloride ions will migrate to the anode and become oxidised at
the anode to form chlorine gas)
13. b (the ions attracted to the cathode are H
+
and Na
+
ions. H
+
is preferentially
discharged to form hydrogen gas)
14. b
15. c
16. b
17. a
18. c
19. b
20. d
21. d
22. c
23. b
Structured Question Worked Solutions
1. Dilute sulphuric acid will conduct an electric current.
a. Give the formulae of all of the ions present in dilute sulphuric acid

b. Name the gaseous products which you would expect to be formed during
the electrol ysis of aqueous potassium sulphate using inert electrodes
at the anode:_____
at the cathode:______

c. Name a metal which is used to electroplate
i. bicycle handlebars
ii. teaspoon

d. Explain why a metal such as aluminium can conduct an electric current but
a non-metal such as sulphur cannot conduct a current

Solution

a. H
+
, OH
-
, SO
4
2-


b. cathode: Hydrogen
anode: Oxygen

ci. chromium
cii. silver

d. Aluminium consists of positively charged particles in a sea of electrons. The
electrons are able to move freely and thus electricity can flow. In sulphur, the atomic
arrangement is fixed, so there is no movement of electrons. When electricity is
passed through sulphur, electricity will not be able to flow.

2a. When concentrated aqueous sodium chloride is electrol ysed using
graphite electrodes, hydrogen is collected at the cathode and chlorine at the
anode.

When concentrated aqueous sodium chloride is electrol ysed using iron
electrodes, hydrogen is again collected at the cathode but much less chlorine
is collected at the anode.

i. Give the equations for the electrode reactions by which hydrogen and
chlorine are formed

ii. Explain why much less chlorine is collected when iron electrodes are used.

iii. Name the product, other than hydrogen and chlorine, which is
manufactured by the electrolysis of concentrated aqueous sodium chloride.
Give a major use of this product

b. Why is the electrolysis of concentrated hydrochloric acid not used for the
manufacture of chlorine?

Answers

ai. 2H
+
(aq) +2e
-
-----> H
2
(g)
2Cl
-
(aq) ----->Cl
2
(g) +2e
-


ii. When iron anode is used, some oxygen gas is produced at the same time. Some
of the electrical energy is used to liberate oxygen. So less Cl
2
is produced.

iii. Sodium hydroxide. It is used to manufacture soap

b. because concentrated HCl is not a cheaply and readily available raw material. It is
also a volatile acid. A lot of HCl gas will be emitted.

3.

The diagram shows the electrol ytic cell used to produce aluminium. The
electrolyte contains aluminium oxide and cryolite (sodium aluminium fluoride)
and is molten at about 800
o
C. The electrodes are made from graphite.

a. Why is a mixture of cryolite and aluminium oxide, and not pure aluminium
oxide, used as the electrol yte?

b. Write the equations for the reactions occurring at
i. the positive electrode
ii. the negative electrode

c. Explain why the graphite anodes need to be replaced at regular intervals

d. Calculate the maxiumum mass of aluminium that can be made from 408
tonnes of aluminium oxide.

ei. Aluminium foil is used to make food containers because it does not corrode
easil y. Explain why aluminium does not corrode easily.

eii. Give a use of aluminium, other than for food containers, together with the
physical property that makes aluminium suitable for that use.

eiii. Give a further use of aluminium, that makes aluminium suitable for that
use. (excluding that from ei and eii)

Solution

a. Aluminium oxide has a very high melting point. With the addition of cryolite, the
melting point is greatly reduced, making it more economical.

bi. 2O
2-
(l) --->O
2
(g) +4e
-

bii. Al
3+
(l) +3e
-
--->Al (s)

c. The oxygen produced at the graphite anode oxidises the graphite to CO
2


d. From the equation 2Al
2
O
3
--->4Al +3O
2

1 mole of aluminium oxide gives 2 moles of aluminium. So 102g of Al
2
O
3
gives 54g
of aluminium.

Thus 408 tonnes of Al
2
O
3
will give (54/102) x 408 =216 tonnes of aluminium

ei. Aluminium forms aluminium oxide in the presence of air. This oxide is insoluble
and resistant to corrosion so it forms a protective coating for aluminium.

eii. It is used in making cooking utensils since it has very good conductivity, in
addition to its good appearance and resistance to corrosion.

eiii. it is a component in several alloys used in aircraft construction. Its favorable use
is due to its low density and high tensile strength.

4. Complete the table by naming the products formed when the following
liquids are electrolysed using inert electrodes
liquid product formed at cathode product formed at anode
dilute sulphuric
acid
oxygen
molten calcium
bromide

concentrated
aqueous sodium
chloride


Solution
liquid
product formed at
cathode
product formed at anode
dilute sulphuric acid hydrogen oxygen
molten calcium
bromide
calcium bromine
concentrated
aqueous sodium
chloride
hydrogen chlorine

5. Aqueous copper(II) sulphate was electrol ysed in two cells using different
electrodes as shown below.

a. Write ionic equations, with state symbols, for the reactions which take place
at the anode in each cell.
b. Describe one change that you would see happen in both cells.
c. Describe one change that you would see happen in Cell 1 but not in Cell 2.

Solution

a. Anode reaction cell 1: 4OH
-
(aq) -->O
2
(g) +2H
2
O (l) +4e
-


Anode reaction cell 2: Cu (s) -->Cu
2+
(aq) +2e
-


b. The size of the cathode increases as copper metal is plated onto the cathode in
both cells.

Cu
2+
(aq) +2e
-
-->Cu (s)

c. The blue colour of the electrolyte in cell 1 fades when more and more Cu2+ions
are reduced to copper metal and plated onto the cathode as a pink deposit.

Cu
2+
+2e
-
-->Cu

6a. Write an ionic equation for the reaction between zinc and aqueous
copper(II) sulphate.

This reaction can be used to generate electricity in a cell.

b. Draw an arrow on the diagram to show the direction of the flow of electrons
in the wire.

c. The voltage of the cell was measured when the following metals were used
as electrode 2.

copper iron lead zinc

Complete the table by entering the metals in the correct order.
meter
reading/V
Metal
1.10
0.78
0.21
0.00

d. When metal M was used as electrode 2, it produced a higher voltage than
zinc. Suggest a name for metal M.

Solution

a. Zn (s) +Cu
2+
(aq) -->Zn
2+
(aq) +Cu (s)

Note: zinc, being a more reactive metal, displaces copper ions out of solution as
copper metals

b. arrow direction from electrode 2 to electrode 1

Note: Zinc, being a more reactive metal, loses electrons more easily when
connected to a metal of lower reactivity, in this case copper.

c.
meter reading/V Metal
1.10 zinc
0.78 iron
0.21 lead
0.00 copper

d. Magnesium

7. Electroplating can be used to coat nickel with a thin coating of silver.

a. Draw a labelled diagram of an apparatus that can be used to electroplate
silver onto nickel.

b. Write equations, with state symbols, for the reactions at the anode and
cathode.

c. Solutions of two salts, A and B, were electrol ysed using carbon electrodes.
The following products were collected.
Salt Products
A oxygen and hydrogen
B chlorine and hydrogen

i. Suggest the names of the two salts, A and B.

ii. Describe tests to confirm the identities of the three gases collected.

Solution

a.

b. reaction at anode: Ag (s) -->Ag
+
(aq) +e
-


ci. Salt A: sodium sulphate

Salt B: sodium chloride

cii. Collect samples of each gas using test tubes. To test for oxygen, insert a glowing
splint into the test tube of gas. The gas that relights the glowing splint is oxygen. To
the remaining samples, place a lighted splint at the mouth of each test tube. The gas
that extinguishes the lighted splint with a "pop" sound is hydrogen. To identity
chlorine, place a piece of moist blue litmus at the mouth of test tube of gas. The
litmus turns red and bleaches.

8. One important use of a gas Y is to sterilize swimming pool water. The gas is prepared
in the laboratory by the electrolysis of a solution. A student tried to prepare gas Y by
the electrolysis of a very dilute sodium chloride solution as shown below. Contrary to
the student's expectation, a colorless gas, instead of gas X, was liberated at the anode.

a. What is the colorless gas liberated?
b. Suggest a chemical test for the colorless gas
c. The experiment was then modified to prepare gas Y.
i. Suggest how the experiment could be modified. Explain your answer.
ii. Suggest the solution left after the electrolysis
iii. Suggest one common use of the solution left.

Solution

8a. oxygen

8b. The gas relights a glowing splint.

8ci. Use concentrated sodium chloride solution instead of a very dilute sodium chloride
solution. Concentration of chloride ions in the solution would be much greater than that of
hydroxide ions. Therefore, chloride ions would be preferentially discharged to form chlorine
gas.

8ciii. manufacture of bleach

9. A dilute copper(II) sulphate solution is electrolysed using carbon electrodes.

a. Describe and explain what would happen at the two carbon electrodes
b. Write half-equations for the reactions at carbon exlectrodes X and Y.
c. What will be the charge in the electrolyte as electrolysis proceeds for some time?
Explain your answer.
d. Explain what could happen to the copper(II) sulphate solution if copper electrodes
are used in the above experiment.

Solution

9a.
At carbon electrode X:
The sulphate ions and hydroxide ions migrate to electrode X. A hydroxide ion is a stronger
reducing agent than a sulphate ion. So hydroxide ions are preferentially discharged.

At carbon electrode Y:
The copper(II) ions and hydrogen ions migrate to electrode Y. A copper(II) ion is a stronger
oxidizing agent than a hydrogen ion. So copper(II) ions are preferentially discharged to form
a deposit of copper on electrode Y.

9b.
electrode X:
4OH
-
(aq) -->O
2
(g) +2H
2
O (l) +4e
-


electrode Y:
Cu
2+
(aq) +2e
-
-->Cu (s)

9c. The solution becomes sulphuric acid because copper(II) ions and hydroxide ions are
consumed in the electrolysis. Hydrogen ions and sulphate ions remain in the solution.

9d. The net effect is the transfer of copper from electrode X to electrode Y. The dilute
copper(II) sulphate solution remains the same.

10. Tuning knobs on radios are often made of plastics plated with metal coatings. The
plastic knobs are first coated with copper and then electroplated with nickel. The
electroplating can be conducted using the following setup.


a. Explain the term 'electroplating'
b. Why is the plastic knob first coated with copper before electroplating?
c. Explain why nickel(II) sulphate solution can conduct electricity
d. Which is the anode, the nickel electrode or the copper-coated knob?
e. Write an ionic half-equation for the reaction at the copper-coated knob
f. Explain why it is better to use a nickel electrode than a carbon electrode in the above
process
g. In a nickel-plating factory, the waste water is treated with sodium hydroxide solution
to remove nickel(II) ions before discharge. Suggest 2 reasons why it is necessary to
remove nickel(II) ions from the waste water before discharge

Solution

10a. It is the coating of an object with a thin layer of a metal by electrolysis
10b. to make the knob conduct electricity
10c. the solution contains mobile ions
10d. the nickel electrode
10e. Ni2+(aq) +2e- -->Ni (s)
10f. the concentration of nickel(II) ions in the electrolyte can be maintained
10g.
- to recover the nickel metal
- nickel(II) ions are harmful to marine lives. Humans may get poisoned by eating
contaminated seafood

11. The following circuit is set up. Electrodes A and B are made of carbon while
electrode C and D are made of copper.

a. What are the functions of the ammeter and rheostat respectively?
b. Explain why no current flows when potassium iodide is in solid state, but a current
flows when water is added.
ci. What would be observed at electrode A and B respectively?
cii. Write ionic half-equations for the reactions at electrodes A and B
di. What would be observed at electrodes C and D respectively?
dii. Write ionic half-equations for the reactions at electrodes C and D
diii. Would you expect any color change in the dilute copper(II) sulphate solution
during the process? Explain your answer.

Solution

11a. The ammeter is an instrument used to measure the electric current passing through the
circuit. The rheostat is used to vary the resistance in the circuit and regulate the current.

11b. In solid state, the ions in potassium iodide are held together by strong attraction. They
are not free to move. So solid potassium iodide does not conduct electricity. When water is
added to the compound, the compound dissolves in the water and the ions become mobile and
a current can then flow through the solution.

11ci. A brown color develops around electrode A. A colorless gas is given off from electrode
B.

11cii.
electrode A:
2I
-
(aq) -->I
2
(aq) +2e
-

electrode B:
2H
+
(aq) +2e
-
-->H
2
(g)

11di. Electrode C dissolves. A reddish brown deposit forms on electrode D.

11dii.
electrode C:
Cu (s) -->Cu
2+
(aq) +2e
-

electrode D:
Cu
2+
(aq) +2e
-
-->Cu (s)

11diii. The blue color of the dilute copper(II) sulphate solution does not change because the
concentration of copper(II) ions in the solution remains the same.

12. A student used the following set-up for passing electricity through some solutions.

The results are shown below:
Experiment Solution Observations
1 sugar solution zero ammeter reading
2 dilute sulphuric acid
gas bubbles given off from both
electrodes
3
dilute sodium iodide
solution
?
4
dilute silver nitrate
solution
gas bubbles given off from one
electrode and silvery solid
deposited on the other electrode

a. Why is zero ammeter reading recorded in Experiment 1?
b. For Experiment 2,
i. name the gas liberated at electrodes X and Y respectively
ii. write ionic half-equations for the reactions at the electrodes

c. For Experiment 3,
i. what substance would you expect to form at electrode X. Explain briefly.
ii. what substance would you expect to form at electrode Y. Explain briefly.

d. For Experiment 4,
i. write ionic half-equations for the reactions at the electrodes
ii. state the change in the solution after electricity has been passed through for some
time.

Solution

12a. Sugar solution is not a conductor of electricity

12bi. X: oxygen; Y: hydrogen

12bii.
at electrode X:
4OH
-
(aq) -->O
2
(g) +2H
2
O (l) +4e
-


at electrode Y:
2H
+
(aq) +2e
-
-->H
2
(g)

12ci. The concentration of iodide ions in the solution is much greater than that of hydroxide
ions. Iodide ions are preferentially discharged to form iodine.

12cii. A hydrogen ion is a stronger oxidizing agent than a sodium ion. So hydrogen ions are
preferentially discharged to form hydrogen gas.

12ciii. Hydrogen ions and iodide ions are consumed in the electrolysis. Sodium ions and
hydroxide ions remain in the solution. Eventually, the solution becomes sodium hydroxide
solution.

12di.
electrode X:
4OH
-
(aq) -->O
2
(g) +2H
2
O (l) +4e
-


electrode Y:
Ag
+
(aq) +e
-
-->Ag (s)

12dii. Silver ions and hydroxide ions are consumed in the electrolysis. Hydrogen ions and
nitrate ions remain in the solution. The solution eventually becomes nitric acid solution.

13. When the circuit in the set-up shown below is closed, the acidified potassium
permanganate solution loses its color gradually.

a. Write a half equation for the reaction that occurs in the acidified potassium
permanganate solution. Explain whether the permanganate ion is oxidized or reduced.

b. What would be observed in the iron(II) sulphate solution after some time. Write a
half equation for the reaction that would occur.

c. Identify the direction of electron flow in the external circuit.

d. Write an ionic equation for the reaction that occurs when acidified potassium
permanganate solution and iron(II) sulphate solution are mixed together.

ei. Give the function of the salt bridge set up
eii. Explain whether a sodium sulphite solution can be used instead of a potassium
nitrate solution in the salt bridge.

As an alternative to iron(II) sulphate and acidified potassium permanganate solution,
potassium iodide solution and iron(III) sulphate solution may be used on the left hand
side and the right hand side respectively.

fi. What would be observed in the potassium iodide solution after some time? Write a
half equation for the reaction that would occur.
fii. What would be observed in the iron(III) sulphate solution after some time? Write a
half equation for the reaction that would occur.

Solution

13a. MnO
4
-
(aq) +8H
+
(aq) +5e
-
-->Mn
2+
(aq) +4H
2
O (l)
MnO
4
- is reduced because it receives electrons and the oxidation number of Mn changes
from +7 to +2.

13b. The solution changes from green to yellow gradually because iron(II) ions are oxidised
to iron(III) ions
Fe
2+
(aq) -->Fe
3+
(aq) +e
-


13c. From iron(II) sulphate solution to potassium permanganate solution

13d. 5Fe
2+
(aq) +8H
+
(aq) +MnO
4
-
(aq) -->Mn
2+
(aq) +5Fe
3+
(aq) +4H
2
O (l)

13ei. to allow migration of ions between the two beakers or to complete the circuit

13eii. No. sodium sulphite reacts with potassium permanganate or the sulphite ions can be
oxidised by permanganate ions

13fi. the solution turns brown or yellow
2I
-
(aq) -->I
2
(aq) +2e
-


13fii. the solution changes from yellow to green
Fe
3+
(aq) +e- -->Fe
2+
(aq)

13fiii. 2I
-
(aq) +2Fe
3+
(aq) -->I
2
(aq) +2Fe
2+
(aq)

14. The diagram shows a dry cell


ai. which substance is the positive electrode?
aii. write an ionic half equation for the reaction at the positive electrode

bi. which substance is the negative electrode?
bii. write an ionic half equation for the reaction at the negative electrode

c. explain the function of manganese(IV) oxide

d. the voltage of the cell drops if current is drawn from the cell rapidly. Explain briefly.

e. explain why the zinc case of a used cell is thinner than that of a new cell

f. explain why disposal of 'flat' cells present a pollution problem

g. explain why zinc-carbon cells should be removed from electric appliances when not in
use for a long period

Solution
14ai. carbon rod

14aii. 2NH
4
+
(aq) +2e
-
-->2NH
3
(aq) +H
2
(g)

14bi. zinc case

14bii. Zn (s) -->Zn
2+
(aq) +2e
-

14c. Hydrogen is produced and collected on the surface of the positive electrode. Since
hydrogen is a poor conductor of electricity, the accumulation of hydrogen at the positive
electrode may hinder further reactions and decrease the current of the cell. Manganese(IV)
oxide, an oxidizing agent, is used to remove the hydrogen.

14d. If a current is drawn from the cell rapidly, the gaseous product cannot be removed fast
enough. The voltage drops as a result.

14e. The zinc case undergoes oxidation to give zinc ions in the cell reaction.

14f. The materials inside the cells do not decompose even after a long time. These materials
may combine with other compounds and form harmful substances which pollute the
environment.

14g. There is a slow direct reaction between the zinc electrons and ammonium ions. After
some time, the zinc case becomes too thin and the paste leaks out. This may cause damage to
electric appliances.