Electrolytic Cells: An electrolytic cell is a type of electrochemical cell in which an electric current is passed through an electrolyte to produce a chemical reaction. Unlike galvanic cells, which produce electricity through a spontaneous redox reaction, electrolytic cell require an external source of electrical energy to drive a non-spontaneous redox reaction.
In an electrolytic cell, there are two electrodes: the cathode and the anode. The cathode is the electrode where reduction takes place, while the anode is the electrode where oxidation takes place. The electrolyte is a solution or a molten salt that contains ions that can undergo reduction or oxidation.
Types of Electrolytic Cells
There are different types of electrolytic cell, depending on the nature of the electrolyte and the type of chemical reaction taking place. Some common types of electrolytic cell are:
- Aqueous electrolytic cells: These are electrolytic cell in which the electrolyte is an aqueous solution. Aqueous electrolytic cell are commonly used in the production of metals, such as the production of aluminum from bauxite.
- Molten electrolytic cells: These are electrolytic cell in which the electrolyte is a molten salt. Molten electrolytic cell are used in the production of metals, such as the production of copper from copper sulfide ores.
- Solid electrolytic cells: These are electrolytic cell in which the electrolyte is a solid ionic conductor. Solid electrolytic cell are used in solid-state batteries and fuel cells.
- Diaphragm electrolytic cells: These are electrolytic cell in which a diaphragm is used to separate the anode and cathode compartments. Diaphragm electrolytic cell are used in the production of chlorine and sodium hydroxide.
- Membrane electrolytic cells: These are electrolytic cell in which a selectively permeable membrane is used to separate the anode and cathode compartments. Membrane electrolytic cell are used in the production of hydrogen gas.
Applications of Electrolytic Cells
Electrolytic cell have many applications in industry, technology, and daily life. Some of the most common applications of electrolytic cells are:
- Electroplating: Electroplating is the process of coating a metal with a thin layer of another metal using an electrolytic cell. This process is used to improve the appearance, durability, and corrosion resistance of a metal surface. Examples of electroplating include chrome plating, nickel plating, and gold plating.
- Production of metals: Electrolytic cells are used to produce many metals, such as aluminum, copper, zinc, and lead. In these processes, the metal ions are reduced at the cathode and deposited on the electrode, while the anions are oxidized at the anode, producing gas or other byproducts.
- Electrolysis: Electrolysis is the process of breaking down a compound into its constituent elements using an electric current. Electrolysis is used in the production of chemicals such as chlorine, sodium hydroxide, and hydrogen gas. Electrolysis is also used in the purification of metals, such as refining of copper and nickel.
- Electrolytic cells in batteries: Some types of batteries, such as rechargeable batteries, use electrolytic cells. In these batteries, an electric current is used to drive a non-spontaneous chemical reaction to store and release electrical energy.
- Electrolytic cells in wastewater treatment: Electrolytic cell are used in wastewater treatment to remove contaminants from water. Electrolysis can break down organic compounds, remove heavy metals, and disinfect water.
- Electrolytic cells in medicine: Electrolytic cell have medical applications, such as in the treatment of skin conditions like acne and in the treatment of cancer.
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By Team Learning Mantras