Industrial Electrolytic ProcessesAluminium ExtractionAluminium is obtained by the electrolytic reduction of its molten oxide,alumina (Al2O3). Because alumina has a very high melting point (2045 C),the mineral cryolite (Na3AlF6) is added to lower the melting point in orderthat the electrolysis may be carried out at about 950 C.
The electrolyticcell has carbon anodes and a carbon cathode (which forms the lining of thetank in which the electrolysis takes place). Carbon dioxide is formed atthe anodes, and aluminium at the cathode. It is heavier than the moltenalumina/cryolite mixture, and sinks to the bottom of the cell, where it istapped off. The procedure is known as the Hall-Heroult process.picAluminium extraction is very demanding on electrical current (typically,800 V and 70 000 A), and is economical only where power is cheap.Silver Plated CutleryElectroplating consists of depositing a thin layer of a metal on another,either for protection or for the sake of appearance. Typically, a brass ornickel object is coated with a layer of silver by making use ofelectrolysis of a silver solution, using the object to be coated as thecathode:The anode consists of pure silver, and the cathode is the object to beplated.
The electrolyte is a mixture of silver nitrate with potassiumcyanide.The reactions are:At the anode: Ag picAg+ + e-At the cathode: Ag+ + e- picAgThe cyanide ensures a low concentration of silver ions, a condition forproviding the best platingElectrolysis has improved the quality of life in western society. WithoutElectrolysis many things that we as a society take for granted would notexists. The simplest thing as a phone would not work without copper wiring.Computers’ cars and most other forms of modern technology would not existwithout the basic materials that are obtained from electrolysis. 1.
Transportation is a fast growing necessity for the modern country andits growing metropolises. Without it a country would not be able tocontinue living profitably. My education would be inaccessible 2. Communication is essential in this day and age and is taken forgranted I would be unable to communicate with friend and family wholive great distances away from me. 3. Technology such as computers would limit my information and my abilityto school assignments and substantially reduce my out put.