Electrolysis and Electroplating Experiments

Electrochemistry is kind of a mystery to many of us, but it really should be considered an essential component of the chemistry lab. Fuel cells, photo-voltaic materials, electroplating, and electrochemical cells are essential topics in a modern chemistry lab.  Students with a background in fundamental electrochemistry are more likely to understand related topics such as conductors, insulators,  and semiconductors; LED and photodiode concepts; and charge flow in biochemical systems. This bibliography is mainly suitable for introductory courses.

MicroLab’s built in software routine for electroplating /electrolysis, when used with the FS522 interface and Model 270/272/292 electrochemistry modules, allows the user to set the voltage and monitor the current, charge, or moles of electrons vs. time and export the results to Excel. Easy.

Avogadro’s number by four methods
W. H. Slabaugh
J. Chem. Educ., 1969, 46 (1), p 40
This is an original. Electrolysis of water, Cu, Ag, Pb; results and methods.

Electrodeposition of nickel on copper
Joseph Manjkow and Dana Levine
J. Chem. Educ., 1986, 63 (9), p 809

The authors used a 6 V battery and had co-evolution of H2 gas from water reduction. This can be avoided with the MicroLab Model 270, 272, or 292 electrochemistry modules by setting the applied voltage to minimize water reduction.

Laboratory scale electrodepositon: Practice and applications
Thomas J. Bruno
J. Chem. Educ., 1986, 63 (10), p 883

The author discusses a wide range of electrolysis techniques at an introductory level. (We used to use the cyanide method discussed for Ag and Au recovery, but decided it was best to avoid the HCN…ah, the good old days.)

Apparatus for demonstrating electrolysis on the overhead projector
Kenneth E. Kolb and Doris K. Kolb
J. Chem. Educ., 1986, 63 (6), p 517

The Model 272 unit can provide 5 V and would work nicely. This could also be an exploratory lab activity. Works even better with a document camera zoomed in.

More electrolysis experiments for the overhead projector
Kenneth E. Kolb
J. Chem. Educ., 1987, 64 (10), p 891

Demonstration of the pH changes during the electrolysis of water
A. Habich and H. R. Hausermann
J. Chem. Educ., 1987, 64 (2), p 171

A variation on the methods of Kolb.

Yet Another Variation on the Electrolysis of Water at Iron Nails
Mark T. Stauffer and Justin P. Fox
J. Chem. Educ., 2008, 85 (4), p 523

The references suggest related activities. The Model 272 can be used as a power supply, but batteries would work as well.

Microscale Electrolysis Using Coin-Type Lithium Batteries and Filter Paper
Masahiro Kamata and Seiko Yajima
J. Chem. Educ., 2013, 90 (2), pp 228–231