The term electrolysis means destruction by the effect of electricity . In other words, it is the process of decomposing a substance through electricity.
In water and metals
When the water in a container is subjected to a direct current electrical charge, it causes the water to “rupture”, that is, the hydrogen and oxygen separate. Therefore, this is not a spontaneous phenomenon, but an artificial one. Thus, the oxygen that surrounds an iron bar causes it to oxidize and turn into iron oxide (this phenomenon is similar to what happens with metal grids exposed to rain). electrolysis
This type of experiment is of practical use, as it is because of this that it is possible to determine the presence of minerals in the water.
Water electrolysis testing is very common to measure the quality of drinking water. This test does not establish the impurities of the water, but serves to know the content of essential minerals.
Iron can be dissolved using an electrolysis test. This is especially useful for eliminating the oxide that builds up on iron parts. Copper is a metal that sometimes needs to be refined to lose its original purity and, for that, it is necessary to carry out an application of electric current on this metal.
Heavy metals such as iron and copper can accumulate in river water through industrial or mining activity. When this happens, the water is potentially dangerous to human health and fish survival. To correct this situation it is necessary to employ electrochemical methods.
Electrochemistry and Faraday’s Laws
The process of electrolysis is studied by a discipline called Electrochemistry. This branch of science is focused on the qualitative and quantitative relationships that exist between chemical reactions and electricity.
In electrolysis, electrical energy generates chemical reactions. This is due to compliance with Faraday’s laws.
Faraday’s first law states that the mass of a substance in contact with electrodes is directly proportional to the electrical charge.
The second law says that the masses of different elements released by the same amount of electricity are proportional to their chemical equivalents.
Both laws were discovered in the nineteenth century and allowed the understanding of a phenomenon, magnetic induction. This process was a fundamental step in the invention of the first dynamo and the first electric generator. As a general rule, electrochemistry is an area of knowledge that specializes in two fundamental reactions: oxidation and reduction.