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Chemical Effects of Electric Current
Materials through which electric current can pass through easily are called electric conductors or conductors of electricity.
Electrical conductivity Or Electric Conductivity: Electrical conductivity is a measure of the ability of a substance to allow the flow of electric current.
Among solids metals and graphite are good conductors which have high electrical conductivity.
Some liquids are also good conductors.
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Pure water or distilled water is a poor conductor of electricity. But the presence of even small amount of impurities(salts and minerals) makes water a good conductor as it contains ions through which conduction takes place.
Hence water from taps, wells, lakes, etc. conduct electricity as they contain impurities.
Most liquids that conduct electricity are solutions of acids, bases and salts.
When electricity is passed through a conducting solution, the molecules of the solution dissociate into ions.
Ions are atoms or group of atoms with a positive or a negative charge.
These ions cause electrical conduction through the liquid.
Electrolyte: A liquid That conducts electricity is called an electrolyte.
The process of chemical decomposition compound in a solution when an electric current passes through it is called electrolysis.
Electrolysis, is due to the chemical effect of electric current.
electrolytic cell: Two electrodes are inserted in the solution and are connected to the terminals of a battery with a switch in between them.
This arrangement is called an electrolytic cell.
anode: The electrode that is connected to the positive terminal of the battery is called the anode,
cathode: The electrode that is connected to the negative terminal of the battery is called the cathode.
Electrolysis is used in refining, electroplating and extraction of metals from impure samples.
electrorefining: This process of refining and extraction of metals from impure samples is called electrorefining.
electroplating: electroplating is the process of coating a useful metal with another metal.
chemical effect of electric current: The process of passing an electric current through a conducting solution to cause chemical reactions is known as the chemical effect of electric current.
Chemical effects of electric current:
(i) Formation of bubbles of a gas on the electrodes.
(ii) Deposition of metal on electrodes.
(iii) Change in colour of solutions.
Electroplating: The process of depositing a layer of any desired metal on another material by means of electricity is called electroplating. The object to be electroplated is made the cathode (negative electrode) by connecting it to thenegative terminal of the battery.
The metal which has to be deposited is made the anode (positive electrode) by connecting it to the positive terminal of the battery. Usually a salt solution of the metal to be coated is made as anode.
Application of Electroplating:
(i) Metals that rust are often coated with other metals to prevent rusting.
(ii) Chromium plating is found on bath taps, car bumpers, etc. to give a bright attractive appearance and resist scratches and wear.
(iii) Silver plating is done on cutlery and jewellery items.
(iv) Tin cans, used for storing food, are made by electroplating tin onto iron.
Tin is less reactive than iron. Thus, food does not come into contact with iron and is protected from getting spoilt.