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ELECTROLYSIS DATA

ELECTRODE MEASUREMENTS

Trial 1
Mass of anode before electrolysis 3.11g
Mass of anode after electrolysis 2.67g
Mass loss of anode (g) 0.44g

Trial 1
Mass of cathode before electrolysis 3.12
Mass of cathode after electrolysis 3.26
Mass gain at cathode (g) 0.14

Average of weight loss at anode: 0.44g

Average of weight gain at cathode: 0.14g

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TIME-AMPERAGE MEASUREMENTS

Trial 1
Time (Secs) Current (A)
0 0.73
30 0.75
60 1.17
90 1.33
120 1.42
150 1.46
180 1.64
210 1.77
240 1.80
270 1.97
300 2.14
330 2.36
360 2.54
390 2.79
420 2.89
450 2.90
480 2.91
510 2.91
540 2.91
570 2.91
600 2.91
Average Current 2.06

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SUMMARY OF DATA AND RESULTS

Table 1:

Trial 1
Total time of electrolysis (seconds) 600
Average current during electrolysis (amperes) 2.06
Total charge measured (coulombs), Q 1236 C
Number of electrons passed 7.714 x 1021
Number of Cu2+ ions generated 3.857 x 1021

Based of weight loss of anode (Table 2):

Trial 1
Number of Cu2+ ions/gram Cu metal (Cu2+/g 8.766 x 1021
Cu)
Avogadro's number (from your measurements) 5.57 x 1023
Avogadro's number ( true or accepted value) 6.022 x 1023
Absolute error in measured value 4.52 x 1023
Relative % error in measured value 75%

Based of weight gain of cathode (Table 3):

Trial 1
Number of Cu2+ ions/gram Cu metal (Cu2+/g 755 x 1022 Cu
Cu)
Avogadro's number (from your measurements) 1.75 x 1024
Avogadro's number ( true or accepted value) 6.022 x 1023
Absolute error in measured value 1.15 x 1024
Relative % error in measured value 191%

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Calculation for Table 1:

Q = It

Trial 1

Q = (2.06Amp-s)(1 coul/1amp-s)(600s)

= 1236 C

No. of e = Q/e

Trial 1

No. of e = 1236 / 1.6022 x 10-19

= 7.714 x 1021 electrons

No. of Cu2+ ions = no. of e x no of e in one atom

Trial 1

No. of Cu2+ ions = 7.714 x 1021 x (1 Cu2+ / 2 electrons)

= 3.857 x 1021 ions

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Calculation for Table 2

No of Cu2+ ions/gram = No. of Cu2+ ions / Mass loss of anode

Trial 1

No of Cu2+ ions/gram = 3.857 x 1021 ions / 0.44

= 8.766 x 1021 Cu2+ ions/g

= 8.766 x 1021 Cu atoms/g

Avogadro's number (from your measurements) = Cu atoms x mole of Cu

Trial 1

Avogadro's number = 8.766 x 1021 Cu atoms/g x 63.546 g/mole copper

= 5.57 x 1023 atoms/mole copper

Absolute error in measured value = true value NA – measured NA

Trial 1

Absolute error in measured value = |6.022 x 1023 - 5.57 x 1023 |

= 4.52 x 1023

Relative % error in measured value = (Absolute error / true value of NA) x 100%

Trial 1

Relative % error in measured value = (4.52 x 1023/ 6.022 x 1023) x 100%

= 75%

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Calculation for Table 3

No of Cu2+ ions/gram = No. of Cu2+ ions / Mass gain at cathode

Trial 1

No of Cu2+ ions/gram = 3.857 x 1021 ions / 0.14

= 2.755 x 1022 Cu2+ ions/g

= 2.755 x 1022 Cu atoms/g

Avogadro's number (from your measurements) = Cu atoms x mole of Cu

Trial 1

Avogadro's number = 2.755 x 1022 Cu atoms/g x 63.546 g/mole copper

= 1.75 x 1024 atoms/mole copper

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Absolute error in measured value = true value NA – measured NA

Trial 1

Absolute error in measured value = |6.022 x 1023 – 1. 75 x 1024 |

= 1.15 x 1024

Relative % error in measured value = (Absolute error / true value of NA) x 100%

Trial 1

Relative % error in measured value = (1.15 x 1024/ 6.022 x 1023) x 100%

= 191%

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Discussion:

“Electrogravimetry is electroanalytical method based on gravimetric determination of metallic


element, which are isolated on the cathode in form of metal or on the anode in form of metal
oxide during electrolysis. This method employs two or three electrodes, and either a constant
current or a constant potential is applied to the preweighed working electrode.”(University of
Wroclaw, no date).

The determination of Avogadro’s number was done through electrogravimetric technique.


However, percentage error for each electrolyte was found to be above and nearing 100%. The
values were 75% and 191% for Trial 1, in CuSO4. A percent error of over 100% is possible. A
percent error of 100% is obtained when the experimental value is twice the value of the true
value. It is always possible to get values that are way greater or lesser than true value due to
human or experimental errors.

One of the error is probably when weighing the electrodes. When making a measurement with a
electronic balance, we should always check the zero reading first. Re-zero the instrument if
possible, or at least measure and record the zero offset so that the reading can be correct later. It
is also a good idea to check the zero reading throughout the experiment. Failure to zero a device
will result in a constant error that is more significant for smaller measure values than for larger
ones.

Experimentally, the net loss and gain ions in CuSO4 can be justified with the half reactions
below:

Anode : Cu(s) → Cu2+(aq) + 2e-


O2 + 4H+ + 4e- → 2H2O
Cathode : 2H2O + 2e- → H2(g) + 2OH-
Cu2+(aq) + 2e- → Cu(s)

At anode, due to the fact that the position of OH- in the standard reduction potential (SRP) list is
lower than the SO42-, therefore, OH- was much easier to be discharged compared to SO42-.
Whereas at Cu2+ was discharged due to its higher ability to be discharged compared to H+.

Here, it is clearly shown that the Cu2+ ions needed to copete only with H+ ions, however Cu2+
ions would definitely be discharged easily. Higher chances of Cu2+ ions to be reduced caused the
deposition of Cu to be high, say, more efficient. On the other hand, there was a slight difference
that occured.

When a very small external current is applied to the copper electrodes, then the equilibrium
between Cu2+ in the solutiion and the Cu of the elctrodes is disturbed. Copper goes into solution
at the anode and an equivalent amount of copper ions are deposited at the cathode (PHYWE, no
date). Theoretically, there is no change in the total amount of dissolved copper sulphate but
experiment showed otherwise. The net loss and gain for the electrode did not tally. The mass loss
by anode was higher compared to the mass gained by the cathode. The possible error was from
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weighing of the electrodes. The electrode must be dried completely before being weighed. The
contribution from electrolyte might have caused the anode to gain phantom mass.

References:

1. PHYWE (n.d.) Electrogravimetric determination of copper. Retrieved from:


http://www.phywe.com/index.php/fuseaction/download/lrm-
_file/versuchsanleitungen/P3062201/e/P3062201.pdf. [Accessed 22/10/2013]

2. University of Wroclaw. (n.d.) Electrogravimeteric Determination of Copper In Alloys.


Faculty of Chemistry, University of Wroclaw, Analytical Chemistry Dept.,
electrogravimetry. Task 17 – p. 3