MadSci Network: Chemistry
Query:

Re: why cant i get oxegen off of a steel eletrode?

Date: Thu Jul 13 12:26:37 2000
Posted By: Tony Gaglierd, Faculty, Natural Science and Engineering Technology, Point Park College
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 963355828.Ch
Message:

Hi Kyle You have some interesting electrochemical reactions taking place in your 
experiment.

Lets look at them one at a time.  When you passes and electric current through 
the concentrated salt solution a couple of things occurred.  Sodium was released 
form the salt and immediately reacted with the water to form sodium hydroxide. 
The chlorine in the salt was released and reacted with the water to from 
hypochlorite (HOCl) the component in household bleach.  This chlorine solution 
reacted with the steel anode oxidizing it to iron oxide rust.  Hydrogen, 
chlorine and water were the by products.

When you replaced the anode with carbon the salt in the water acted to increase 
the conductivity of the solution and you had the classic dissociation reaction 
of water into itís component parts hydrogen and oxygen. 

The heat, was the result I suspect, of  the resistance of water to the current.

There is another process in which an electric current is passes through Molten 
Salt the products are sodium metal and chlorine gas the sodium is collected and 
dissolved in water to form sodium hydroxide and the chlorine gas is collected 
and packaged as a gas.

To generate Hydrogen and oxygen from water use the graphite electrodes and try 
substituting a little vinegar or lemon juice to the water to increase itís 
conductivity in stead of table salt.

You learned some interesting things by this experiment. This is how a lot of 
scientific discoveries were made. Take good notes of your experiments and if 
something dose not work out the way you planed try to find out why.


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