Electrochemistry :  Electrolytic Cells
 
 
Electrolytic cell - An electrochemical cell in which electrolysis is done.
  • Electrolysis - A process in which an electric current is used to decompose a compound into its elements.
  • The overall reaction for the electrolytic cell above is:

    2 NaCl(l)yields (via electrolysis) 2 Na(l) + Cl2(g)

    A Downs Cell is used commercially to electrolyze molten NaCl into sodium metal and chlorine gas:

    Downs Cell


    Electrolysis of Water

    2 H2O(l)Yields (via electrolysis) 2 H2(g) + O2(g)

    Half Reactions

    Reduction: 
    (Cathode)
    2 H2O + 2 eH2 + 2 OH- E= -0.83 V
    Oxidation:
    (Anode)
              2 H2O2 + 4 H+ + 4 e E= -1.23 V
     
    Electrolytic Cells with Aqueous Solutions

    At an Inert Anode:

    2 H2OO2 + 4 H+ + 4 e-

    At an Inert Cathode:

    2 H2O + 2 e-H2 + 2 OH-

    OR, if in acidic solution:

    2 H+ + 2 e- H2

    Next:  "Standard-State Cell Potentials"