Question Video: Identifying the Setup Apt for Electroplating Steel with Tin | Nagwa Question Video: Identifying the Setup Apt for Electroplating Steel with Tin | Nagwa

Question Video: Identifying the Setup Apt for Electroplating Steel with Tin Chemistry • Third Year of Secondary School

Electroplating steel with tin is one way to prevent the steel from rusting. Which setup of equipment would ensure the correct results?

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Video Transcript

Electroplating steel with tin is one way to prevent the steel from rusting. Which setup of equipment would ensure the correct results? (A) The anode is the piece of steel we want plated, the cathode is made from tin, and the electrolyte is an aqueous tin salt. (B) The anode is made from tin, the cathode is the piece of steel we want plated, and the electrolyte is an aqueous tin salt. (C) The anode is made from graphite, the cathode is the piece of steel we want plated, and the electrolyte is an aqueous tin salt. (D) The anode is made from tin, the cathode is the piece of steel we want plated, and the electrolyte is an aqueous iron salt. Or (E) the anode is the piece of steel we want plated, the cathode is made from graphite, and the electrolyte is an aqueous iron salt.

Let’s rewrite the answer choices in a tabular form to give us more space. Electroplating involves electrolysis. An electrolysis reaction is a reaction that uses an electrical current that is passed through a solution or liquid and causes substances to decompose or break apart. The apparatus necessary for these reactions involves a power source, an anode, a cathode, and an electrolyte solution.

To ensure a continuous circuit between the two electrodes, a liquid electrolyte containing the compound to be broken apart is added to the cell. The ions from the compound within the electrolyte will then flow towards their respective electrode. Positive ions will flow towards the negatively charged cathode. And the negatively charged ions will flow to the positively charged anode.

So, we’re asked to determine how to electroplate steel with elemental tin. If we want to electroplate steel with tin, we need to get the tin ions from the electrolyte solution. Therefore, we will need to use an aqueous tin salt as an electrolyte solution. Therefore, we can eliminate answer choices (D) and (E).

An aqueous tin salt solution forms a positively charged tin cation, Sn2+, meaning that tin is a metal that will migrate to the negatively charged cathode in its pure elemental form. We want the tin ions to coat the steel, so we need to make steel act as the cathode. Now, we can eliminate answer choice (A), as it tells us that the cathode should be made from tin and not steel. So, what will the anode be made out of?

The anode should be made from tin because the electroplating reaction will cause tin ions to move from the tin electrode towards the cathode. The proper setup of our equipment for our electroplating reaction to occur is a tin rod for our anode, the steel piece as our cathode, and an aqueous tin salt solution for the electrolyte.

Let’s bring back the original answer choices. The correct answer is (B). The anode is made from tin, the cathode is the piece of steel we want plated, and the electrolyte is an aqueous tin salt.

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