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Membrane Cell(362Words)

The modern membrane cell makes use of a barrier known as a membrane which
allows positive ions but not negative ions to pass through it. At the cathode,
positive sodium ions are attracted, so they pass through the membrane.
At the anode (positive electrode) chloride ions are discharged in the following
2Na(aq) + 2Cl(aq) 2Na(aq) + Cl(g) + 2e

Half Equation
2Cl Cl(aq) + 2e(g)[2]
Here chloride ions lose electrons, since the anode will liberate the Cl ions of its
electrons, and since oxidation is loss, this is an oxidation reaction. The Cl atoms
then react to form di-atomic Cl molecules which escape as chlorine gas. This is
the first part of the redox reaction
Na ions are positive, so they pass through the permeable membrane. Electrons
from the cathode liberate hydrogen gas and OH ions.
2Na(aq) + 2HO(l) + 2e H(g) + 2Na(aq) + 2OH(aq)
Half Equation
2 H+(aq) + 2 e H2 (g)[2]
On this side of the membrane the HO which is easier to reduce, is reduced to
hydrogen gas and OH ions. This is the second part of the redox reaction. [2]
Keeping Products Apart
It is necessary to keep anode and cathode products from each other in the
electrolysis of aqueous NaCl to minimise Cl ions contaminating the sodium
hydroxide solution[1], and loss of hydroxide ions[1]. Also chlorine and hydrogen
must be separate to prevent an explosion[1]. But without separation the
negative hydroxide ions would be attracted to the anode, where chlorine is
present and react with the chlorine ions as a result cross contaminating the
So how is it achieved in the chloro-alkali industry?
In the membrane cell, the membrane itself acts as a barrier. It is only permeable
to positive sodium ions[1]. This allows the sodium to pass through the
membrane where hydroxide ions are present and form sodium hydroxide, but the
hydroxide ions not to pass through to react with chlorine ions preventing

In a mercury cathode cell this is achieved by having chlorine produced in a
different container from hydrogen and sodium hydroxide. This allows for the
reactions to occur separately, therefore there is no possible cross contamination.
Uses of Chlorine, Sodium Hydroxide and hydrogen in Industry Today(101words)

In the present day a lot of these three substances is being of use. On average
there is pretty uniform demand for all three substances but chlorine at 41 million
tonnes at year has the largest share of the industry, of 35.3 %. Sodium
Hydroxide is next in demand with 39 million tonnes produced a year, which is
about 33.6 % in the whole industry. Last but not least is hydrogen with 36 million
tonnes being produced a year, taking a 31.1 % sector in the industry.


Sodium hydroxide


In the individual uses of chlorine, sodium hydroxide and hydrogen, there is a

wide range of demand, from oil refinery, to chemical manufacture, reflecting the
importance of these substances in modern day industry.

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