What is electrolysis?
In chemistry and manufacturing, electrolysis is a method of using a direct electric current (DC) to drive an otherwise non-spontaneous chemical reaction.
Electrolysis is commercially highly important as a stage in the separation of elements from naturally occurring sources such as ores using an electrolytic cell. The voltage that is needed for electrolysis to occur is called decomposition potential.
Electrolysis is the passage of a direct electric current through an ionic substance that is either molten or dissolved in a suitable solvent, resulting in chemical reactions at the electrodes and separation of materials.
The main components required to achieve electrolysis are :
An electrolyte: a substance containing free ions which are the carriers of electric current in the electrolyte. If the ions are not mobile, as in a solid salt then electrolysis cannot occur.
A direct current (DC) supply : provides the energy necessary to create or discharge the ions in the electrolyte. Electric current is carried by electrons in the external circuit.
Two electrodes : an electrical conductor which provides the physical interface between the electrical circuit providing the energy and the electrolyte.