top of page




Time: 15 minutes - 1 hour

Electrolysis is the passing of a direct electric current through an electrolyte producing chemical reactions at the electrodes and decomposition of the materials.
The main components required to achieve electrolysis are an electrolyte, electrodes, and an external power source. A partition (e.g. an ion-exchange membrane or a salt bridge) is optional to keep the products from diffusing to the vicinity of the opposite electrode.
The electrolyte is a chemical substance which contains free ions and carries electric current (e.g. an ion-conducting polymer, solution, or a ionic liquid compound). If the ions are not mobile, as in most solid salts, then electrolysis cannot occur. A liquid electrolyte is produced by:
> Solvation or reaction of an ionic compound with a solvent (such as water) to produce mobile ions
> An ionic compound melted by heating

The electrodes are immersed separated by a distance such that a current flows between them through the electrolyte and are connected to the power source which completes the electrical circuit. A direct current supplied by the power source drives the reaction causing ions in the electrolyte to be attracted toward the respective oppositely charged electrode.

bottom of page