IB Chemistry home > Syllabus 2016 > Redox processes > Electrolysis

Syllabus ref: 9.2  Syllabus ref: 19.1

Word etymology 'electro' + 'lysis' = electricity + breaking apart. Electrolysis is the process of breaking an ionic compound into simpler substances using an electrical current.

Nature of science - SL

Ethical implications of research: The desire to produce energy can be driven by social needs or profit.

Nature of science - HL

Collaboration and ethical implications-scientists have collaborated to work on electrochemical cell technologies and have to consider the environmental and ethical implications of using fuel cells and microbial fuel cells.

Understandings - SL

Essential idea: Voltaic cells convert chemical energy to electrical energy and electrolytic cells convert electrical energy to chemical energy.

Electrolytic cells convert electrical energy to chemical energy, by bringing about non-spontaneous processes.

Oxidation occurs at the anode (positive electrode) and reduction occurs at the cathode (negative electrode) in an electrolytic cell.

Understandings - HL

Essential idea: Energy conversions between electrical and chemical energy lie at the core of electrochemical cells.

When aqueous solutions are electrolysed, water can be oxidized to oxygen at the anode and reduced to hydrogen at the cathode.

Current, duration of electrolysis and charge on the ion affect the amount of product formed at the electrodes during electrolysis.

Applications and skills - SL

Construction and annotation of both types of electrochemical cells.

Explanation of how a redox reaction is used to produce electricity in a voltaic cell and how current is conducted in an electrolytic cell.

Distinction between electron and ion flow in both electrochemical cells.

Deduction of the products of the electrolysis of a molten salt

Applications and skills - HL

Explanation of the products formed during the electrolysis of aqueous solutions.

Determination of the relative amounts of products formed during electrolytic processes.

Explanation of the process of electroplating.

In Chapter 9.5