Created by: Team Physics - Examples.com, Last Updated: July 16, 2024

Faraday’s Laws of Electrolysis are fundamental principles in physics that quantify the relationship between the amount of electric charge passed through an electrolyte and the amount of substance that is deposited or dissolved at the electrodes. These laws are essential for understanding the quantitative aspects of electrochemical reactions.

## What is Faradays Laws of Electrolysis?

Faraday’s Laws of Electrolysis are fundamental principles in the field of electrochemistry. These laws describe the quantitative relationship between the amount of electric charge passed through an electrolyte and the amount of substance that undergoes electrochemical change at the electrodes.

## What is an Electrolytic Cell?

An Electrolytic Cell is a device that uses electrical energy to drive a non-spontaneous chemical reaction. This type of cell is a key component in electrochemistry and has various applications, including electroplating, electrolysis, and battery charging.

## Faradayβs β First Law of Electrolysis

Faraday’s First Law of Electrolysis is a fundamental principle in electrochemistry, formulated by Michael Faraday in 1834. This law quantifies the relationship between the amount of substance deposited at an electrode and the quantity of electric charge passed through the electrolyte.

Faraday’s First Law of Electrolysis states that the mass of a substance deposited or liberated at an electrode during electrolysis is directly proportional to the quantity of electric charge passed through the electrolyte.

The law can be mathematically expressed as:

m=Z x Q

where:

• π is the mass of the substance deposited or liberated (in grams),
• Q is the total electric charge passed through the electrolyte (in coulombs),
• Z is the electrochemical equivalent of the substance (in grams per coulomb).

### Electrochemical Equivalent (Z)

The electrochemical equivalent (Z) is a constant that depends on the substance being electrolyzed and is defined as the mass of the substance deposited by passing one coulomb of electric charge through the electrolyte. It can be calculated using the formula:

π = M/nF

where:

• M is the molar mass of the substance (in grams per mole),
• n is the number of moles of electrons required to deposit one mole of the substance,
• F is Faraday’s constant (9648596485 coulombs per mole).

## Faradayβs β Second Law of Electrolysis

Faraday’s Second Law of Electrolysis further extends the relationship between the amount of substance deposited or liberated during electrolysis and the electric charge passed through the electrolyte. This law, also formulated by Michael Faraday, is essential for understanding the quantitative aspects of electrochemical reactions.

Faraday’s Second Law of Electrolysis states that when the same quantity of electric charge is passed through different electrolytes, the mass of the substances deposited or liberated at the electrodes is directly proportional to their equivalent weights.

The law can be mathematically expressed as:

mβmβ = EβEβ

where:

• πββ and πββ are the masses of the substances deposited or liberated,
• πΈββ and πΈβ are the equivalent weights of the substances.

## Uses of Faradays Laws of Electrolysis

• Electroplating: Faraday’s Laws are fundamental in electroplating, where a thin metal layer is deposited onto another material. By controlling the electric current and time, manufacturers precisely control the metal layer’s thickness. This process improves the appearance, corrosion resistance, and wear resistance of items such as jewelry, car parts, and electronics.
• Electrorefining and Electrowinning: In metallurgy, Faraday’s Laws are used to purify metals and extract metals from ores. Passing an electric current through an electrolyte solution deposits pure metal at the cathode. This technique is crucial for producing high-purity metals like copper, aluminum, and zinc.
• Battery Technology: Faraday’s Laws help design and understand batteries. By knowing the relationship between electric charge and active material, engineers can calculate battery capacity and efficiency. This is essential for developing high-performance batteries for electric vehicles, electronics, and energy storage.
• Electrolytic Production of Chemicals: Faraday’s Laws are used to produce chemicals like chlorine, hydrogen, and sodium hydroxide through electrolysis. In the chlor-alkali industry, electrolysis of brine produces chlorine gas, hydrogen gas, and sodium hydroxide, which are vital for industrial chemicals.
• Corrosion Prevention: Faraday’s Laws are applied in cathodic protection to prevent corrosion in metal structures like pipelines, ships, and offshore platforms. By applying a small electric current, the metal structure becomes the cathode, preventing corrosion and extending infrastructure lifespan.
• Electrochemical Sensors: Faraday’s Laws are used in electrochemical sensors, which detect specific ions or molecules in a solution by measuring the electric current during electrolysis. These sensors are used in environmental monitoring, medical diagnostics, and industrial process control.

## Examples for Faradays Laws of Electrolysis

1. Electroplating Jewelry: Jewelers use electroplating to coat inexpensive metals with precious metals like gold or silver. By controlling the electric current and duration, they achieve a uniform, thin layer of precious metal, enhancing the appearance and value of the jewelry.
2. Purifying Copper in Electrorefining: In copper electrorefining, impure copper acts as the anode, and pure copper acts as the cathode in an electrolyte solution. When an electric current passes through, pure copper deposits on the cathode while impurities fall away, producing high-purity copper used in electrical wiring and electronics.
3. Producing Chlorine and Sodium Hydroxide: In the chlor-alkali process, electrolysis of brine (sodium chloride solution) produces chlorine gas at the anode and hydrogen gas and sodium hydroxide at the cathode. This method is essential for manufacturing chlorine, which is used for water purification, and sodium hydroxide, which is used in soap and detergent production.
4. Manufacturing Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs): During PCB manufacturing, a thin layer of copper is electroplated onto a non-conductive substrate to create electrical pathways. By precisely controlling the electric current, manufacturers ensure the copper layer is uniform and adheres well, providing reliable electronic connections.
5. Electrowinning Zinc from Ore: In electrowinning, zinc is extracted from its ore by dissolving it in an electrolyte solution and passing an electric current through it. Zinc ions are reduced and deposited as solid zinc at the cathode. This process is crucial for producing high-purity zinc for galvanizing and alloy production.
6. Corrosion Protection with Cathodic Protection: In cathodic protection, a small electric current is applied to metal structures like pipelines and ship hulls to make them the cathode of an electrochemical cell. This prevents corrosion by reducing the metal ions back to their metallic state, extending the lifespan of the structure.
7. Using Electrochemical Sensors for Environmental Monitoring: Electrochemical sensors measure the concentration of specific ions in a solution by generating an electric current proportional to the ion concentration. These sensors are used to monitor pollutants in water, ensuring environmental safety and compliance with regulations.
8. Electrosynthesis of Organic Compounds: In electrosynthesis, organic chemists use electricity to drive chemical reactions that produce complex organic molecules. For example, the electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide can produce useful chemicals like methanol, which is used as a fuel and chemical feedstock.
9. Water Purification through Electrocoagulation: Electrocoagulation uses an electric current to dissolve coagulant materials from electrodes into contaminated water. These coagulants form precipitates that capture and remove impurities such as heavy metals, oils, and suspended solids, resulting in cleaner water.
10. Electroforming Metal Parts: In electroforming, a metal part is created by depositing metal onto a mold using electrolysis. This technique produces precise, high-quality metal parts used in aerospace, electronics, and jewelry manufacturing.

## Who formulated Faraday’s laws of electrolysis?

Michael Faraday formulated these laws in 1834.

## How does the type of electrolyte affect electrolysis?

The type of electrolyte determines the products at the electrodes and the efficiency of the process.

## What is the role of equivalent weight in electrolysis?

The equivalent weight determines the mass of a substance produced by one mole of electrons.

## How do you calculate the number of moles of electrons?

You calculate it by dividing the total charge by Faraday’s constant.

## What is the significance of Faraday’s constant?

Faraday’s constant (approximately 96485 C/mol) represents the charge of one mole of electrons.

## How is the quantity of electric charge measured?

The quantity of electric charge is measured in coulombs.

## What is the electrochemical equivalent?

The electrochemical equivalent (Z) is the mass of a substance produced at an electrode per unit charge.

## What units are used for current in electrolysis calculations?

Current is measured in amperes (A).

## How do you determine the charge passed through the electrolyte?

You determine it by multiplying the current by the time the current flows (Q = I * t).

## What factors affect the mass deposited in electrolysis?

Factors include current, time, type of electrolyte, and the electrochemical equivalent.

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