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Electrolysis of Water
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The definition of Electrolysis is “chemical change, especially decomposition, produced in an electrolyte by an electric current.”

 

Electrolytes dissolve due to dissociation (when molecules of the substance decompose into charged particles called ions). Anions, ions with negative charges, are drawn through the solution to the positive charge on the anode. A positively charged particle is known as a cation, which moves through the solution to the cathode. Due to the fact that water is a polar solution it is a solvent. Polar, not like a bear, though. The molecule is a dipole; has positive and negative ends. These charged ends react with charges on other polar substances to dissolve them. They do this by taking hydrogen atoms from the substance to from hydronium ions. Doesn't that sound great, hydronium, hydronium, hydronium.

            Electrolysis actually translates to the process of breaking molecules to smaller components by using electrical current. Positive and negative poles of a DC electric source, for example a battery, can absorb opposite ions of an electrolyte causing separation of ions and the creation of a new substance.



 The Quantitative aspects of electrolysis were principally developed by Michael Faraday in 1834. Faraday is accredited to have coined the terms electrolyte and electrolysis, among many others while studying quantitative analysis of electrochemical reactions. He was also an advocate of the law of conservation of energy.

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"By providing energy from a battery, water (H2O) can be dissociated into the diatomic molecules of hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2). This process is a good example of the the application of the four thermodynamic potentials.

The electrolysis of one mole of water produces a mole of hydrogen gas and a half-mole of oxygen gas in their normal diatomic forms. A detailed analysis of the process makes use of the thermodyamic potentials and the first law of thermodynamics."

Main page

Electrolysis

http://www.miniscience.com/projects/WaterElectrolise.htm

and

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/thermo/electrol.html