The process of electrolysis was explained by Arrhenius in 1887 by a very simple theory called theory of ionic dissociation. According to this electrolysis theory the molecule of an electrolyte exists in the form of positive and negative ions even if the electrolyte is in the solid from when an electrolyte is dissolved in water a solution loft an electrolyte is prepared some of the molecules of the electrolyte breakup into two parts called ions having opposite charges. Their number increases with the increase in dilution of the solution and no external field is required for this purpose.
For example a sodium chloride molecule (NaCI) consists of sodium and chlorine ions (Na+ and CI-) they are held together by electrostatic force of attraction inelectolytic medium which is given by F = 1 / 4π∈0K / q1 q2 / r2
Where K is dielectric constant for air, K = 1 and for water at room temperature K = 81.
Therefore when NaCI is dissolved in water the force of attraction binding the two ions (Na+ and CI-) into the sodium chloride molecule becomes very small which is insufficient to hold them together and thus the two ions get separated.
When a potential difference is established between the two electrode3s placed in the electrolyte the positive ions move towards the cathode and the negative ions move towards the anode theses ions on reaching their respective electrodes give their charge to them and becomes neutral and then appear as free gas or get deposited as a thin layer on the electrodes this is how the electrolysis takes place.
It should be noted that the movement of the positively charged ions towards the cathode and negatively charged ions towards the anode is equivalent to a current flowing from anode to cathode this explains how the electric current is conducted through an electrolytic solution.
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