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APPLICATION OF ELECTROCHEMISTRY

Uses of Electrolysis in Industries

Extraction of metals

Purification of metals

Electroplating of metals

Extract metals from their ores.

Metals that have been extracted from their ores are normally not pure & contain impurities which need to be removed.

Many types of metals can be plated with other metals through electrolysis electroplating.

Metals that are more reactive than carbon cannot be extracted through heating of their metal oxides with carbon.

In the purification process, the impure metal is made the anode while the pure metal is made the cathode.

Aims: - making the metal more resistant to corrosion, - making the metal appear more attractive.

Metals that are more reactive need to be extracted from their molten ores using electrolysis process.

The electrolyte is a solution which contains the metal ions.

In this process, the molten ore is the electrolyte and inert electrodes such as carbon are used as +ve & -ve electrodes.

Metals such as silver, gold, nickel, copper, chromium, cadmium, zinc @ tin are frequently used as plating metal.

During electrolysis, impure metal at the anode will release electrons & dissolve into the electrolyte as metals ions.

In the electroplating process, plating metal is used as the anode while metal to be plated is used as the cathode.

These metal ions can receive electrons & form pure metal at the cathode. The electrolyte used is an aqueous solution which contains ions of the plating metal.

The size of impure metal (anode) become smaller & impurities will settle at the bottom of the container, the mass of the impure metal plate decreases.

During electrolysis, plating metal @ the anode releases electrons & dissolves to form metal ions.

The size of pure metal (the cathode) becomes larger due to the deposition of pure metal, the mass of pure metal plate increases.

Ions of the plating metal then move to the cathode, receive electrons there & form a thin layer of metal on the cathode.

BENEFITS OF ELECTROLYSIS IN INDUSTRY


PROCESS BENEFITS Enables metals that are more reactive than carbon to be extracted from their ores.

Metal extraction

Metal purification

Improves the electrical conductivity of substances.

Metal electroplating

Improves the resistance of metal against corrosion.

Electrolyte such as NaOH solution can cause water pollution in rivers & oceans & harm marine life.

Heavy metals, such as mercury , used as electrodes in the electrolysis of sodium chloride, NaCl, is toxic & will pollute the surrounding environment if it is not disposed properly.

HARMFUL EFFECTS OF ELECTROLYSIS IN INDUSTRY

Poisonous gases such as chlorine, Cl2 gas cause air pollution.

Nickel salts & chromium salts, which are used as electrolytes in the purification & electroplating industries, are poisonous to human being.