Electrolysis - Research Article from World of Chemistry

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Electrolysis is the process of causing a chemical reaction to occur by passing an electric current through a substance or mixture of substances, most often in liquid form. Electrolysis frequently results in the decomposition of a compound into its elements. To carry out an electrolysis, two electrodes, a positive electrode (anode) and a negative electrode (cathode), are immersed into the material to be electrolyzed and connected to a source of direct (DC) electric current.

The apparatus in which electrolysis is carried out is called an electrolytic cell. The roots -lys and -lyt come from the Greek lysis and lytos, meaning to cut or decompose; electrolysis in an electrolytic cell is a process that can decompose a substance.

The substance being electrolyzed must be an electrolyte, a liquid that contains positive and negative ions and therefore is able to conduct electricity. There are two kinds of electrolytes. One kind is...

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This section contains 2,107 words
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Electrolysis from World of Chemistry. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.