MadSci Network: Chemistry

Subject: What are the solids in my solution?

Date: Wed Feb 16 20:57:29 2005
Posted by Jeremy
Grade level: nonaligned School: University of South Florida
City: Tampa State/Province: Florida Country: USA
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 1108609049.Ch

I set up and ran the following electrolysis experiment. 
NaCl (aq) 
9V source
Copper and paper clip electrodes
A single glass container with solution.
Electrodes where about 2 to 3 inches apart.

At first bubbles where observed at the cathode {(-) port of 9V battery}. I 
suspect this was Hydrogen. I expected to also see bubbles at the anode, and it 
seemed like there where few bubbles appearing.

After a while two precipitates appeared. Sinking to the bottom was a dark 
bluish green substance. Rising to the surface was a dark brown and sometimes 
orange substance.

Here is my interpretation of the results:
The bubbles at the cathode are H.
The bubbles at the anode are either Cl and or O.
The bluish green stuff at the bottom is NaOCl.
The brownish stuff at the surface is NaOH.

Are my observations above correct? Did the copper or metal in the paper clips 
release any ions into the solution that I am not accounting for? If yes, what 
are they and did they react to form the precipitants I observed?

Re: What are the solids in my solution?

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