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Background: After conducting an electrolytic experiment using a copper

and carbon electrodes, Jim concluded that carbon electrodes are more
effective than copper electrodes and it does not interfere with electrolytic
procedures.
Hypothesis: Copper is a better electrode than carbon because it conducts
an electrical current better than Carbon.
Aim: To investigate whether Copper is a better conductor than carbon or not.
Apparatus:
-

A simple Circuit
Pure copper electrodes
Pure Carbon electrodes
Voltmeters
Beakers

Reagents:
-

1 moldm-3 solution of Copper(II) Sulphate


1 moldm-3 of Sodium Hydroxide
Solution of concentrated Hydrochloric Acid
1 moldm-3 solution of Lead Bromine
Pure Water

Method:
(1)Acquire clean beakers and a simple circuit attached with Pure Copper
electrodes and a voltmeter.
(2)Fill a labeled beaker with a solution of 1 moldm-3 Copper(II) Sulphate.
(3)Dip the electrodes into the solution.
(4)Observe the occurrences at the electrodes.
(5)Fill another labeled beaker with a solution of 1 moldm-3 Lead Bromine.
(6)Observe the occurences at the electrodes.
(7)Repeat Steps 1-6 using the Carbon Electrodes.

Diagram:

Expected Results:
Copper electrodes conducted more electricity than carbon and they are more
effective. Carbon electrodes are more effective in some electrolysis because
it is more inert than copper.
Copper Electrodes- Copper (II) Sulphate
ELECTRODE
CATHODE
Ions at electrode
Reactions at the
electrode
Amount collected
Equation for electrode
reaction
Oxidation/Reduction
Conclusion
Products
Copper Electrodes- Lead Bromine

ANODE

ELECTRODE
Ions at electrode
Reactions at the
electrode
Amount collected
Equation for electrode
reaction
Oxidation/Reduction
Conclusion
Products

ANODE

CATHODE

Carbon Electrodes- Lead Bromine


ELECTRODE
Ions at electrode

CATHODE

ANODE

Reactions at the
electrode
Amount collected
Equation for electrode
reaction
Oxidation/Reduction
Conclusion
Products
Carbon Electrodes- Lead Bromine
ELECTRODE
Ions at electrode
Reactions at the
electrode
Amount collected
Equation for electrode
reaction
Oxidation/Reduction
Conclusion
Products

CATHODE

ANODE

Manipulated Variable:
Amount of voltage supplied
Precaution:
Care was taken to ensure the electrodes were properly placed into the
solution.
Limitation:
The voltage supplied by the battery may be less as the experiment prolongs.

Discussion:
Electrolysis (of copper sulphate) is a way of splitting up (decomposition) of the
compound (copper sulfate) using electrical energy. The electrical energy comes

from a d.c. (direct current) battery or power pack supply. A conducting liquid,
containing ions, called the electrolyte (copper sulfate solution), must contain the
compound (copper sulfate) that is being broken down. The electricity must flow
through electrodes dipped into the electrolyte to complete the electrical circuit with
the battery. Electrolysis can only happen when the circuit is complete, and an
electrical current (electricity) is flowing, then the products of electrolysing aqueous
copper(II) sulfate solution are released on the electrode surfaces where they can be
collected. Electrolysis always involves a flow of electrons in the external wires and
electrodes and a flow of ions in the electrolyte and there is always a reduction at the
negative cathode electrode (which attracts positive ions, cations) and an oxidation
at the positive anode electrode (which attracts negative ions, anions) and it is the
ions which are discharged to give the products.