The electrochemical cell which facilitates a chemical reaction through the induction of electrical energy is known as an electrolytic cell. This process of carrying out non-spontaneous reactions under the influence of electrical energy is termed as electrolysis. Michael Faraday carried out extensive investigations on electrolysis of solutions and melts of electrolytes. He was the first scientist who described the quantitative aspects of electrolysis. Products of electrolysis depend on a number of factors some of them are discussed below:
Factors Affecting Products of Electrolysis:
- Products of electrolysis depend on the material being electrolysed. In other words, the nature of electrolyte governs the process of electrolysis. The process is fast for a strong electrolyte whereas for weak electrolyte an extra potential better known as over potential is required. Products of electrolysis depend on upon the value of this over potential too.
- Products of electrolysis depend on the nature of electrodes too. That is, in the case of the inert electrode (say gold, platinum), it doesn’t participate in the reaction whereas if the electrode used is reactive in nature it takes part in the reaction.
- Various oxidizing and reducing species present in the electrolytic cell do affect the products of electrolysis.
- The products of electrolysis depend on standard electrode potentials of the different oxidizing and reducing species present in the electrolytic cell.
- In case of multiple reactions, the product of electrolysis depends on the standard electrode potential of various reactions taking place. For example, electrolysis of aqueous solution of sodium chloride. Out of the multiple reduction reactions taking place, the reduction reaction which has the highest value of standard electrode potential takes place at the cathode. Similarly, out of the multiple oxidation reactions, the oxidation reaction which has the lowest value of standard electrode potential takes place at anode.
These are some basic rules that govern the end products for an electrolysis reaction. To learn more about electrolysis download BYJU’S- The Learning App.