Question Video: Identifying the Best Description of Electrolysis | Nagwa Question Video: Identifying the Best Description of Electrolysis | Nagwa

Question Video: Identifying the Best Description of Electrolysis Chemistry • Third Year of Secondary School

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Which of the following is the best description of electrolysis? [A] The use of an electric current to produce a solid or gas from a liquid. [B] The production of an electric current by chemical reactions in a liquid. [C] The use of an electric current to drive the dissolution of a solid. [D] The production of an electric current by the dissolution of a solid. [E] The use of an electric current to drive chemical reactions in a liquid.

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Video Transcript

Which of the following is the best description of electrolysis? (A) The use of an electric current to produce a solid or gas from a liquid. (B) The production of an electric current by chemical reactions in a liquid. (C) The use of an electric current to drive the dissolution of a solid. (D) The production of an electric current by the dissolution of a solid. (E) The use of an electric current to drive chemical reactions in a liquid.

The word “electrolysis” is a combination of two different Greek roots: electro-, which now refers to electrons and electricity, and -lysis, which means to set free or to break apart. Electrolysis therefore refers to the fact that we can use electricity to break apart substances and turn them into pure chemical substances or other chemicals. Electrolysis is a chemical process where electricity is passed through an electrolyte, causing it to decompose into its constituent elements. Electrolysis is carried out by passing an electric current from a battery or power supply through a solution containing ions. The solution containing ions is called an electrolyte, and it can conduct electricity.

In order to sustain an electrolytic reaction, we must have a complete circuit. In other words, we need to be able to continuously get power from the battery or the power supply. To do this, our solution must contain ions and our ions must be able to move. This is why an electrolytic cell must be filled with a liquid electrolyte. An electrolyte is a type of substance or mixture that contains mobile ions that can conduct electricity and therefore undergo electrolysis. If this electrolyte is a liquid, ions can freely move versus if the electrolyte were a solid.

As the ions migrate to their respective electrodes, oxidation and reduction reactions occur and the electrolyte within the electrolysis cell is broken down to form new products. Given this information, which of our answer choices provides the best description of electrolysis?

Answer choice (A) states that electrolysis is the use of an electric current to produce a solid or gas from a liquid. While electrolysis can be used to produce a solid or gas from a liquid, there are many other applications of electrolysis. Therefore, this is probably not the best description of electrolysis. Answer (A) is incorrect.

Answer choice (B) states that electrolysis is the production of an electric current by chemical reactions in a liquid. The purpose of the ions within the solution is to facilitate the electric current passing from one electrode to another. The solution itself is not producing the current. This answer is not correct.

Answer choice (C) states that electrolysis is the use of electric current to drive the dissolution of a solid. This answer is also correct in that electrolysis can be used to dissolve a solid. However, this is not the only application for electrolysis and is therefore not the best description of the process. Therefore, answer choice (C) is incorrect.

Answer choice (D) states that electrolysis is the production of an electric current by the dissolution of a solid. Again, as the current comes from an outside source and not an internal reaction, this definition is incorrect.

Answer choice (E) states that electrolysis is the use of an electric current to drive chemical reactions in a liquid. Since this definition covers a wide range of applications, this is the most complete and best description of electrolysis. Therefore, answer choice (E) is correct. The use of an electric current to drive chemical reactions in a liquid is the correct answer.

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