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Practical 6 Aim: To determine the value of Avogadros constant by means of the electrolysis procedure Materials: 1moldm-3 copper (II)

sulphate solution and two copper plates Apparatus: Batteries, 250cm3 beaker, connecting wires with crocodile clips, ammeter, switch and stopwatch

Safety precaution: 1. Make sure hand are not wet during this experiment. 2. Using sand paper to clean copper plate. 3. Propanone should be handling with care as it is flammable where we should avoid fire put near to it.

Procedure: 1. Two pieces of copper plates is clean using sand paper and is weight. 2. A beaker is fill with 1moldm-3 copper (II) sulphate solution until it is half full. 3. The apparatus is set up as shown in the diagram below. The stop watch is start after the switch is turn on. 4. The rheostat is adjust to allow a small current to pass through 5. The reading of the ammeter is recorded. 6. The current is switch off after 30 minutes. 7. The changes at the anode and the cathode are record. 8. The copper plates are washing and dry with propanone and are weight again.



Initial experiment Mass of copper at anode Mass of copper at cathode Change in anode 0.45 0.40 Reddish

Final experiment 0.39 0.45 Blue appear on top of copper plate

Change in cathode


Reddish appear even at the crocodile clip

Solution Copper (II) sulphate Time Ammeter

Blue 30s 0.1A


Calculation: Step 1: Anode: Cathode: Cu Cu2+ + 2eCu2+ + 2e- Cu

Step 2:

I = 0.1a t = 30minute m = 0.06g e = 1.60 X 10-19

Q = It = 0.1 X 30 X 60 = 180C

Step 3: Number of mole = =

mass RAM

0.06 63.5

= 9.45X10-4mole

Step 4: To produce one mole of Cu =

180 9.45 X 10 - 4

= 190476.20

Step 5: Q = ne 190476.20 = 1.60X10-19n n = 1.190X1024 ( 2 mole of electron) n = 5.95X1023


The Avogadro Constant is a constant number used to refer to atoms, molecules, ions and electrons. Its value is 6.023 x 1023 mol-1, like a dozen is 12 and a score is 20. By determine the actual value or to prove the value, a simple electrolysis is conduct. Electrolysis is a method of separating chemical bonded compound by passing through a direct current through the compound.

Copper plate act as electrode at cathode and anode in this experiment. At anode, the copper plates free its electron. Then, it will form copper ions into the copper (II) sulphate solution. The electron is move from anode to cathode where the copper ions receive the electron at cathode and becoming a copper atom forming the copper plate at cathode increase in size. As the Faraday 1st law of electrolysis said, the mass of substance at electrode is directly proportional to quantity of electricity transfer at electrode. Whereas the Faraday 2 nd law stated the charge Q require is directly proportional to the weight of substance. Therefore, by using the formula, Q= It and Q=ne, the Avogadro constant can be calculated.

However, from the calculation, which found out that the Avogadro constant is only 5.95X1023 mole and not the same as 6.02X1023. It happen like that because the electrolysis is not completed. There are some of the ions which haven reform back to their solid state. Some of the copper which had release electron becoming ions haven change back to copper at the cathode as it need some time before they can attach at the cathode electrode. We can improve this experiment by making sure the copper plate has clean before using in the experiment so that there are no oxide appear in the copper plate.

Conclusion: The Avogadro constant which get in the experiment is 5.95X1023.


1. Theoretically, the weight gain of copper in one electrode should be the same as the weight loss in another electrode. Explain why there is a slight discrepancy in these two values when you carry out in this experiment. There is a slight discrepancy in the two values as some of the copper ions are still in the solution and haven accepted electron to undergo reduction.

2. Write balanced equations for the reactions occur in anode and cathode. Anode: Cathode: Cu Cu2+ + 2eCu2+ + 2e- Cu Cu + Cu2+ Cu + Cu2+

3. State and explain two ways to improve the accuracy of the results obtained. The result can be improve by clean the oxide from the copper plate. Beside that, the resistance should be adjusted so that it wont decrease the potential different of the cell. Time can be put much longer than 30 minute as the more time given; the more copper will form at cathode.

4. Apart from determine the Avogadro constant, state and explain another two uses of electrolysis in industry. Anodization is an electrolytic process that makes the surface of metals resistant to corrosion. It is an electrolytic passivation process used to increase the thickness of the natural oxide layer on the surface part of the metal. For example, anodized aluminium surface making it become

aluminium oxide wil make the aluminium harder and making it less likely to crack. Aluminium is place in anode where the electrolytic cell is passing through a direct current. Electrolyte use is sulphuric acid. This process release water and oxygen at the cathode and oxygen are combining with aluminium at the surface of anode electrode which makes aluminum becoming aluminium oxide.

The second use of electrolysis in industry is depositing metal. A solution of copper (II) sulphate is use as electrolyze and copper electrodes use in anode and cathode. At cathode, Copper ions receive electron forming copper atom while the copper anode dissolves forming the copper ions. Mass of the copper lost at anode is same with the mass of copper gain at cathode. This method use to purify copper in industry. By placing the impure copper at the anode, pure copper can be form at cathode as the copper ions only can form copper back at cathode while impurities leave behind at the solution.


1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anodization. 2. S-cool limited. (2000). Chemistry GCSE: Electrolysis. http://www.scool.co.uk/gcse/chemistry/electrolysis/using-electrolysis.html. 3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avogadro%27s_number 4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faraday%27s_laws_of_electrolysis