Electrolysis and Electroplating

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What is Electrolysis?

Electrolysis is said to be a process which uses an electrical current which is directed to break chemical compounds, while Electroplating is a process that uses electrical current to reduce the dissolved metal like cations so that they form a metal which is coherent coating on an electrode.

The word “electrolysis” was introduced by Michael Faraday in the 19th century. In chemistry we have seen that electrolysis is a method that uses a DC to drive a nonspontaneous reaction which is the chemical reaction. This technique is commercially significant as a stage in the separation of elements from naturally occurring sources such as ores, using an electrolytic cell.

Electrolysis Process

The fundamental process of electrolysis is the interchanging of atoms and the ions by the addition or removal of electrons from the external circuit.

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  • The Ionic compounds that contain the charged particles are called ions. For example we can say that Sodium Chloride basically contains positively charged Sodium ions and they are charged negatively with chlorine ions.

  • The ions which must be free to move in order to start the process of electrolysis. When a substance which is ionic is dissolved in water or we can say melted then the ions are free to move. During the process of electrolysis the positively charged ions move to the electrode which is a negative electrode and they are charged negatively ions move to the positive electrode. Then the charges which are positively ions that  receive the electrons and are negatively charged ions lose electrons. Both the products that are of the dissociation get collected at the point of electrodes.

  • For instance we can say that  if electricity is passed through the molten sodium chloride then we can notice that the sodium chloride is broken into sodium and chlorine. And they are collected at their own respective electrodes. The metals that get precipitated and then the gases which escape from them. This ability which is to break down substance with a current is used in many ways.

  • The process of Electrolysis is widely used for electroplating.

Define Electrolysis

There's no such thing as alchemy which is changing magically common chemical elements that are into valuable and rare ones but the process of electroplating is possibly the next best thing. The idea is to use electricity to coat a relatively metal which is mundane such as copper which is  with a thin layer of another metal which is more precious. such as silver or gold. 

The process of electroplating that has lots of other uses which is  besides making cheap metals look expensive. We can say that the use of all these things is to make things that are rust-resistant.  For example we can say that to produce a variety that is of useful alloys like bronze and brass and even which is to make plastic look like metal. A question arises: how does this amazing process work? Let's take a closer look about it in this article.

Electroplating Process

The process of electroplating is very similar to electrolysis by using electricity to split up a chemical solution. which is said to be the reverse of the process by which batteries produce electric currents. All these things are said to be given examples of electrochemistry, the chemical reactions caused by or producing electricity that give scientifically or we can say the industrially useful end-products.

First of all we have to choose the right electrodes and electrolyte that is by figuring out the chemical reaction or we say that the reactions you want to happen when the electric current is switched on. The metal or the atoms that plate our object come from out of the electrolyte. So if we want to plate copper that is something we need an electrolyte made from a solution of a salt of the copper while for gold plating we need a gold-based electrolyte and so on.

Next we can say that to ensure the electrode we want to plate is completely clean. Otherwise we can say that when metal atoms which are from the electrolyte are deposited onto it.  They actually won't form a good bond and they may simply rub off again over it. Generally we can say that cleaning is done too by dipping the electrode into an acid which is very strong or we can say an alkaline solution or by briefly connecting the circuit which is electroplating in reverse. If the electrode that we have discussed is really clean and the atoms from the plating metal bond to it effectively by joining very strongly onto the edge which is outside  of its crystalline structure.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Explain what is the process of electroplating?

The process which is of electroplating is a general name for processes that create a metal with the coating on a solid substrate through the reduction of cations of that metal by means of a direct electric current.  The current which we have discussed in this article is provided by an external power supply.

2. Explain what the principle of electrolysis is?

The process which is electrolysis is an electrochemical process by which the current passes from one electrode to another. That too in a solution which is ionized that is an electrolyte. In this whole process ions which are positive or the cations come to the negative electrode or cathode and the ions which are negative or anions come to the positive electrode or anode.

3. Explain what is electroplating with an example?

The electroplating is the process which is of plating one metal onto another by hydrolysis. Very commonly for the purpose which is for decorative or to prevent the metal corrosion. There are also specific types of electroplating such as copper plating or the silver plating, and chromium plating. The surface that can be metal or we can even plastic.