Ionic Theory and Electrolysis

len Alfred Ajibola - Sat, 28th December, 2019 @ 16:56: PM

Topics in Chemistry

Le Chatelier's Principle: Changes in Concentration and Pressure explained in Dynamic Equilibrium Chemical Equilibrium: Dynamic Equilibrium in Chemistry Static and Dynamic Equilibrium explained with their Differences Chemistry Scheme of Work, SS1, First Term Chemistry Scheme of Work, SS1, Second Term Chemistry Scheme of Work, SS1, Third Term Compounds in Chemistry: Characteristics of Compounds Types of Mixture: Homogenous and Heterogeneous Mixtures Mixtures: Characteristics of Mixtures Physical Properties of Matter explained with Examples Chemical Properties of Matter explained with Examples Differences between Physical and Chemical Change Ionic Theory and Electrolysis Physical and Chemical Properties of Acids States of Matter: Characteristics of Solids Liquid State of Matter: Characteristics of Liquids Gaseous State of Matter: Characteristics of Gases Molar Mass, Worked Examples and Differences with Molecular Mass Elements: Characteristics of Elements Salts and Types of Salt in Chemistry

Academic Questions in Chemistry

Please check out our Test Your Knowledge page to see all Questions and Answers

The Separating Funnel is a technique used in the separation of mixtures. Another name for Separating Funnel is the _____ Funnel.

  • A. Partition
  • B. Separatory
  • C. Division
  • D. Liquid
  • E. Half
  • F. Dividing

2NH4+(aq) + Ag+(aq) -> 2H4AgN

The equation above represents _____ acid.

  • A. Svante Arrhenius'

  • B. Brønsted–Lowry's

  • C. Gilbert Lewis'

  • D. Avogadro's

  • E. Sir Isaac Newton's

  • F. Albert Einstein's

According to Brønsted Thomas Martin Lowry, an acid is defined as _____.

  • A. Any substance that produces hydrogen ion (H+) when dissolved in water

  • B. A substance that accepts electron pair in a chemical reaction

  • C. A substance that gives out hydronium ion (H3O+) when dissolved in water

  • D. A substance that donates a proton in a chemical reaction

  • E. A substance that reacts with a base to form salt and water

  • F. A substance whose hydrogen ions  (H+) are displaced after a reaction with metals higher in the activity, reactivity or electrochemical series

Which of the following is NOT a characteristic of chemical change?

  • A. A new thing is formed
  • B. It cannot be easily separated into it's constituents elements
  • C. A new chemical formula accompanies whatever is formed
  • D. The burning of candle is an example of a chemical change
  • E. Blood is an example of a chemical change
  • F. Iron rust is an example of a chemical change

Which of the following statement is FALSE concerning a physical change _____.

  • A. Substances formed in a physical change have a unique chemical formula and IUPAC name
  • B. It's a change that is easily reversible
  • C. It's a change that can be separated via an appropriate separation technique
  • D. No new substance is formed
  • E. A mixture of salt and water is a physical change
  • F. Physical change can result to a change in color and shapes of substances

The following substances will sublime EXCEPT _____.

  • A. Sodium Cryolite
  • B. Solid Carbon(IV)oxide
  • C. Arsenic
  • D. Sulphur
  • E. Iodine Crystals
  • F. Naphthalene

Which of the following is a state of matter?

  • A. Ions
  • B. Plasma
  • C. Compounds
  • D. Molecules
  • E. Atoms
  • F. None of the above

The ideal way of separating a mixture of blood is through _____.

  • A. Chromatography
  • B. Fractional Distillation
  • C. Centrifugation
  • D. Filtration
  • E. Separating Funnel
  • F. Fractional Crystallization



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Ionic Theory:

The ionic theory is an important concept associated with electrolytes and electrolysis. This is so because electrolytes will always dissociate into ions during electrolysis.

By definition, an electrolyte is a solution or molten compound or paste-like compound that conducts electricity.

Note: Electrolytes are able to conduct electricity because they dissociates into two types of ions. These are cations and anions.

The equation below will be used to explain the ionic theory:

YZ -> A+ + B-

KCl -> K+ + Cl-

Ideally, the electrolyte (YZ or KCl) from the above instance should be in an aqueous form. In short, all electrolytes exists in aqueous (solution), or molten or paste-like forms. (Please see the definition of an electrolyte above).

So the above equation can be appropriately re-written as:

Y+Z-(aq) -> Y+(aq) + Z-(aq)

K+Cl-(aq) -> K+(aq) + Cl-(aq)

You can read on Salt and Types of Salts here.

Note: The process whereby molecules are splitted into ions in an electrolyte is known as ionization or dissociation.

All electrolytes do not ionize to the same degree. This is so because electrolytes fall into 2 categories. These are:

  1. Strong Electrolytes: They ionize or dissociates completely in solution. Examples are normal salts like sodium chloride and calcium chloride.
  2. Weak Electrolytes: They ionize or dissociates partially in solution. Ethanoic Acid (CH3COOH) is an example of a weak electrolyte.

From the above explanations, the ionic theory of electrolysis can therefore be related or linked to the ionization (or dissociation) of ions in solution.

The ionic theory of electrolysis states that substances whose solution conducts electricity will undergo electrolytic dissolution or dissociation or ionization.

Note: The ionic theory of electrolysis was first proposed by a Swedish scientist named Svante Arrhenius in 1887.

You can read on the Chemical and Physical Properties of Acids here.


What is Electrolysis?

Electrolysis is defined as the process of passing electricity into an electrolyte (through the electrodes), with the resultant decomposition of the electrolyte.

Note: The 'decomposition of the electrolyte' implies that the electrolyte is eventually broken down into its constituent elements.

Please read on Elements and their Characteristics here.

The elements deposited or liberated during electrolysis will vary in different ionic compounds. For instance, the elements deposited at the electrodes in the electrolysis of fused calcium chloride (CaCl2) will be different from that deposited in the electrolysis water (H2O).

Please read on Physical Change and Chemical Change here.


What are Electrodes?

Electrodes are defined as rods or plates that connect an electric circuit to the electrolyte; thus becoming the avenues through which electric current enters and leaves the electrolyte.

The diagram below shows the various components of electrolysis:
Electrolysis - Len Academy

Notice from the above diagram that the electrodes (cathode and anode) are in contact with the electrical circuit at one end and with the electrolyte at the other end.

Please read on the Physical Properties of Metals here.

Types of Electrodes

Electrodes are of two types. They are:

1. Anode: The anode is the positive electrode through which electric current (or electrons) leaves the electrolyte.

The anode will attract negatively charged ions (called anions) during electrolysis (or when current is passed through the electrolyte).

2. Cathode: This is the negative electrode through which electric current (electrons) enters the electrolyte.

The cathode will attract positively charged ions (cations) during electrolysis.

During electrolysis, oxidation occurs at the a anode while reduction occurs at the cathode.

Oxidation as the loss of electron(s).

Reduction is the gain of electron(s).

Note: An understanding of the terms (explained above) is crucial towards comprehending the electrolysis of different compounds.

The exact way and manner through which oxidation and reduction occur in electrolysis will be clearly explained in a subsequent article (on the electrolysis of various compounds).

At the moment, You can read on the definitions of Acid in regards to Oxidation and Reduction here.

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Alfred Ajibola is a Medical Biochemist, a passionate Academician with over 7 years of experience, a Versatile Writer, a Web Developer, a Cisco Certified Network Associate and a Cisco CyberOps Associate.

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Amazing facts in Chemistry

The only letters that failed to appear on the periodic table are letters:

J     &     Q

Gold and copper are the only two non-silvery colored metals.

Please read some interesting facts about gold here

Copper is the only metal that is naturally antibacterial. This is why you would see some children utilize 'copper' water bottles in schools

Water actually freezes faster when it’s warm than when it’s cold

Most element in their pure state exists physically in different forms. For instance, pure carbon can exist as both diamond and graphite. This phenomenon is called allotropy.

Please read on modification of Dalton's atomic theory here.

If you pour a handful of salt into a full glass of water, the water level will go down rather than overflowing the glass.

Similarly, if you mix half liter of water and half litre of alcohol, the total volume of the liquid will be les than one litre


Gold ; Len Academy

Below are some facts about gold

  • It is the only metal that has a gold (golden) color.

  • Gold is present inside the earth crust in all the seven continents.

  • Pure gold is soft and very stretchable (It can even be stretched into threads).

  • The Latin name of Gold is aurum which means 'shining dawn'. For this reason, its chemical symbol is 'Au'.

  • Gold is a very good conductor of electricity. This is why it’s sometimes used in making USB and audio cables.

  • Gold is non toxic and can be eaten with food. It is sometimes added to desserts in some expensive restaurants.

  • The term Gold originated from an ancient English word 'geolu' which means yellow.

  • 24karat gold is the purest gold element.

Please read more interesting facts about gold here

An acid is a substance that produces Hydrogen ions (H+) when dissolved in water (or when in the form of an aqueous solution).

Svante Arrhenius definition of Acid


An acid is a substance that donates a proton in a chemical reaction.

Brønsted Thomas Martin Lowry definition of Acid


An acid is a substance that accept an electron pair in a chemical reaction.

Gilbert Newton Lewis definition of Acid


Finally, Acids can also be also defined as substances that gives out hydronium ion (H3O+) when dissolved in water.


In summary, all acids will always contain the positive H+ (cation) and an anionic group in their formula. For instance, the acid HCl (Hydrogen Chloride) contains H+ as cation and Cl- as its anion.

Please read the explanations of the above definitions of acid here