School Chemistry: Describing & explaining electrolysis of copper chloride solution
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ELECTROLYSIS of COPPER CHLORIDE SOLUTION
(Suitable for AQA, Edexcel and OCR GCSE chemistry students)
ELECTROCHEMISTRY revision notes on electrolysis, cells, experimental methods, apparatus, batteries, fuel cells and industrial applications of electrolysis
6. Using an electrolysis cell - investigating the electrolysis of copper(II) chloride solution
A simple method of investigating the electrolysis of copper(II) chloride solution is described. The formation of the products of electrolysing aqueous copper chloride is fully explained with the appropriate electrode equations. What are the products of the electrolysis of aqueous copper chloride solution?
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6. Electrolysis of copper(II) chloride solution
The products of electrolysing copper chloride solution are copper metal and chlorine gas
In the simple electrolysis cell (left diagram), the graphite (carbon) electrodes are, through a large rubber bung, 'upwardly' dipped into an solution of dilute copper chloride.
In this cheap and simple apparatus the gaseous product (chlorine) is collected in a small test tube inverted over the carbon electrodes. You have to fill the little test tubes with the electrolyte (copper chloride solution), hold the liquid in with your finger and carefully invert them over the nearly full electrolysis cell.
The electrolysis will only take place when electricity is passed through the dilute copper(II) chloride solution. The platinum or carbon electrodes are inert. You can also use the simple electrolysis set-up illustrated below (right) using two inert metal wires as electrodes.
The electrolyte copper(II) chloride, provides a high concentration of copper(II) ions Cu2+ and chloride ions Cl to carry the current during the electrolysis process.
The tiny traces of hydrogen ions (H+) and hydroxide ions (OH) from water, would not normally be discharged at the electrodes in this investigation.
The electrolysis will only take place when electricity is passed through the copper chloride solution.
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