Electrolysis is a process that canseparate substances into its original form. During electrolysis, electriccurrents are carried through electrolytes which end up in the solution. Thishelps the flow of ions.
The flow of ions has an important role in a reaction. Electrolysisoccurs in the electrolytic cell. Inside the cell there are two types ofelectrodes, one is called the anode and the other is the cathode. The anode hasa positive charge which attracts negative charged ions. And the opposite istrue for the cathode. It has a negative charge which attracts positive chargedions. Electrolysis was first introduced by Michael Faraday.
However, anophthalmologist, Dr. Charles E Michael carried out research upon the topic. Hediscovered that if a direct current was placed into a salt water solution,chemical changes took places. This happened because of the movement of ions.
Hefound out, that sodium hydroxide was one of the solutions. He used this as atype of hair removal. Electrolysis can be used for manythings other than just hair removal. For example, cleaning, especially oldartifacts. Since electrolysis can separate substances into its original form,it can separate the non-metallic particles from the metallic ones in theartifacts. It also helps take of rust.
In this method, iron oxide is removed bya small passing electrical charge. The charge comes from some sort of batteryor charger through the rusty metal. This simulates an exchange of ions. Duringthis process, the tool or item is submerged in an electrolyte solution to makethis process more efficient.
Electrolysis can also be used forelectroplating. Electroplating is where plating one metal onto another byhydrolysis occurs. An electrical current is passed through electrolytes. Twoelectrodes are dipped into the electrolyte connecting them into a circuit. Thiscircuit has a battery or a different energy supply. After the electricity flowsthroughout the circuit, the electrolyte is split up and most metal atoms are leftwith a thin layer of the electrodes. Which means it was electroplated. Its mostcommonly used for decorations and to prevent corrosion of a metal.
Differenttypes of electroplating are copper, silver and chromium plating. This processenables producers to use cheaper metals like steel or zinc for most of theirproducts. They then can apply different types of more expensive metals on theoutside.One way that electrolysis isrelated to things we have learned in school is through oxidation numbers.
Theoxidation number can determine if an ion is positively or negatively charged.This is similar to electrodes. There are two types of it. One type is called ananode and it has a positive charge which attracts negatively charged ions. Theother type is called a cathode and it has a negative charge which attracts positivelycharged ions.
This also relates to ionic bonding. Like I said, the anode has apositive charge which attracts negative charged ions and the cathode has negativecharge which attracts positive charged ions. In ionic bonding, positive atomsattract/bond with negative atoms and vise-versa. Which is similar to thecathode and anode.