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The Science of Electrolysis

            ´╗┐Abstract: Electrolysis can be used to plate one type of metal with another. The overall aim of the investigation was to explore which variables had a significant impact on copper electroplating with copper sulphate as the electrolyte solution. Due to the accessibility of the laboratory, the variables were narrowed to which impacted the amount of current passed through an electrolytic cell as this influenced the rate of metal deposition. In this investigation, it was considered whichever variable had a significant impact on amount of metal deposition (AMD) over a fixed time was more efficient, however this is not true for all industries as it does not include factors such as quality. The variables investigated included voltage, concentration of the electrolyte and distance between electrodes. It was found that the relationship of the variables could be explained by via Faraday's Laws of Electrolysis, Ohm's Law and Conductivity Laws. The results concluded, Distance between Electrodes vs AMD formed an inversely proportional relationship, molarity and voltage suggested proportional relationships with AMD. .
             Electrolysis is the process where a direct current (DC) is used to drive a chemical change, a non-spontaneous redox reaction; this is able to form an electrolytic cell (H Green, 2013). An electrolytic cell contains electrolyte solution, anode and cathode electrodes. When a potential difference (voltage) is applied a transfer of electrons occurs between the anode and cathode electrodes through the electrolyte solution. Positively charged ions transfer to the negative electrode (cathode), the cathode receive electrons and therefore it is reduced, negatively charged ions transfer to the positive electrode (anode), a loss of electrons occurs here and therefore it is oxidised (T DeWitt, 2015). An electrolyte solution may be water, a solvent with ions disassociated within or molten salts such as copper sulphate.

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