MadSci Network: Chemistry

Re: Making Ferric Oxide Using ELECTROLYSIS

Date: Fri Jan 15 15:21:49 1999
Posted By: Jerry Franzen, Faculty Chemistry
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 915202942.Ch

Iron oxide is Fe2O3 and hydrated iron oxide would be iron hydroxide 
Fe(OH)3.  I am sure that electrons can be electrolytically removed from a 
piece of iron to form Fe3+ ions,. which would separate from the iron 
electrode.  Hook a piece of iron up to the negative pole of a battery.  
Hook up an inert conductor (a carbon rod) to the positive pole of the 
battery.  In electrolysis, the two electrodes are immersed in a conducting 
medium.  This is usually an aqueous solution of an electrolyte.  Sodium 
sulfate is such an inert electrolyte.  As the iron ions are formed, they 
are removed from the iron electrode into the solution.  If the solution is 
basic, using sodium hydroxide as the electrolyte, you might get iron 
hydroxide which might lose water to form iron oxide.  The iron hydroxide is 
insoluble, so I do not know whether it will just coat the iron electrode 
and shut down the whole process.  This is as close as I can come to 
attempting what you want to do.

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