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YEAR ……….

NAME : ……………………………. CLASS : ………………..


Theme : Interaction between chemicals

Learning Area : Electrochemistry
Learning Objective : Analysing the electrolysis of aqueous solutions
Peka I : To investigate the effect of specific electrodes on the electrolytic process of
an electrolysis.
Problem : How do the types of electrodes affect the products of electrolysis of
copper (II) sulphate solution?

Element Assessed : C I - Skills in planning an experiment

C II - Skills in carrying out an experiment
C III - Skills in collecting or recording data
C IV - Skills in interpreting data and making conclusion
CV - Scientific attitudes and noble values

Instructions : i) Students are required to plan, design and conduct an experiment on the
electrolysis of copper(II) sulphate by using copper electrodes and carbon
ii) Your report should include the following criteria :

1. Aim/Problem statement
2. Hypothesis
3. Variables
4. Apparatus/Materials
5. Methods/Steps/Procedures
6. Table of results/Observation
7. Analysis/Discussion
8. Conclusion

Date to conduct experiment :

Date to hand in report :


Title : The effect of the types of electrodes on the selective discharge of ions at the
anode and cathode

Aim : To investigate the effect of specific electrodes on the electrolytic process of

an electrolysis

Problem statement : How do the types of electrodes affect the products of

electrolysis of copper (II) sulphate solution?

Hypothesis : Different types of electrodes will form different products

at the electrodes.

Variables :

Manipulated : Type of electrodes.

Responding : Products at the anode.
Fixed : Volume and concentration of copper(II) sulphate solution.

Materials : 1 mol dm-3 copper(II) sulphate, CuSO4 solution.

Apparatus : Electrolytic cells, carbon electrodes, copper electrodes, ammeter,

connecting wires with crocodile clips, power pack/batteries,
wooden splinter and electronic balance.

Procedure :
1. The carbon electrodes are cleaned with a piece of sandpaper.
2. The carbon electrodes are weighed individually and the readings are recorded.
3. An electrolytic cell is set up as shown in the diagram.
4. The cell is filled up with copper(II) sulphate solution until its level is above
the electrodes .
5. The electric current is allowed to flow for 15 minutes.
6. Changes at both electrodes are noted and recorded.
7. The gas collected is tested with a glowing wooden splinter.
8. The anode is taken out, washed, dried and then weighed using an electronic balance.
9. The experiment is repeated using copper electrodes.
10. All the readings and observations are recorded in the table below.

Observation :

Observation Inference Mass of the anode (g)

Cathode Anode Cathode Anode Before After
a) A brown a) A gas is The metallic The gas 3.09 3.09
metallic liberated. deposit at liberated at
substance is the cathode the anode
deposited at b) The gas is copper. is oxygen.
the cathode. ignites a
b) The blue splinter.
colour of

a) A brown a) The Copper is The copper 0.77 0.74

metallic electrode deposited at anode
substance is becomes the cathode. corroded.
deposited at thinner.
the cathode.
b) The blue
colour of
Discussion :

A) Using Carbon as Electrodes

1. The ions present in copper(ll) sulphate solution are H+ , OH- , Cu2+ and SO42-.
2. At the anode
a) OH- ions and SO42- are attracted to the anode but only OH- is selectively discharged.
b) This is because OH- occupies a lower position than SO42- in the electrochemical
c) The discharge of OH- will produce oxygen according to the following equation.

4OH- → 2H2O + O2 + 4e

d) Thus, oxygen is liberated at the anode . It will ignite a glowing splinter.

3. At the cathode:
a) H+ and Cu2+ are attracted to the cathode but only Cu2+ is chosen to be discharged by
the carbon electrode.
b) The discharge of Cu2+ will produce copper, Cu.

Cu2+ + 2e → Cu

c) Thus, copper is formed and deposited on the cathode.

d) As the experiment continues, more and more copper ions will be discharged. The
Cu2+ ions give copper(II) sulphate its blue colour. Thus, as times continues, the
solution will become less bluish because concentration of the copper ions decreases.

B) Using Copper as Electrodes

1. The sulphate ions and hydroxide ions move to the anode. However, these ions are not
discharged. Instead, the copper in the copper anode ionises to form copper ions Cu2+.

Cu→ Cu2+ + 2e

2. During the electrolysis using copper electrodes, the copper (II) ions and hydrogen ion
move to the cathode. Copper(II) ion is lower than hydrogen in the electrochemical
series. Hence, in these copper ions are selectively discharged to form copper metal.

Cu2+ + 2e → Cu

3. The intensity of blue colour of the electrolyte remains unchanged. This is because the
concentrated of the blue copper(II) ions remains unchanged. For one copper(II) ion
discharge to form a copper atom at the anode, one copper atom from the anode will
dissolve to form a copper (II) ion.

Conclusion :

Different type of electrode used, can affect the products of electrolysis. The hypothesis is accepted.