The U-shaped electrolytic vessel and the electrodes are made of an alloy of platinum-iridium, the limbs of the tube being closed by stoppers made of fluor-spar, and fitted with two lateral exit tubes for carrying off the gases evolved.
The former includes electrodes, lamp carbons, &c. Coke, or some other form of amorphous carbon, is mixed with a little tar, and the required article moulded in a press or by a die.
The massive graphite is very easily machined and is widely used for electrodes, dynamo brushes, lead pencils and the like.
Soc., 1856, p. 30) electrolysed an equimolecular mixture of potassium and calcium chlorides (which melts at a lower temperature than potassium chloride) also between carbon electrodes; whilst Castner's process, in which caustic potash is electrolysed, is employed commercially.
A third class of electric wave detector depends upon the power of electric oscillations to annul the electrolytic polarization of electrodes of small surface immersed in an electrolyte.
A battery with a sufficient number of cells is connected to these two electrodes so as to pass a current through the mercury vapour, negative electricity proceeding from the mercury cathode to the iron anode.
Duddell discovered in 1900 that if a continuous current carbon arc had its carbon electrodes connected by a condenser in series with an inductance, then under certain conditions oscillations were excited in this condenser circuit which appeared to be continuous.
The electric arc is formed between cooled copper (positive) and carbon (negative) electrodes in an atmosphere of hydrogen or coal-gas.
Across the arc is a transverse or radial magnetic field, and the electrodes are connected by an oscillatory circuit consisting of a condenser and inductance.
Faraday found that the mass of substance liberated at the electrodes in the cell C was equal to the sum of the masses liberated in the cells A and B.
He also found that, for the same current, the amount of chemical action was independent of the size of the electrodes and proportional to the time that the current flowed.
Thus, if the current be passed through dilute sulphuric acid between hydrogen electrodes, and through a solution of copper sulphate, it will be found that the mass of hydrogen evolved in the first cell is to the mass of copper deposited in the second as i is to 31.8.
Since the electric forces are active throughout the whole solution, all the ions must come under its influence and therefore move, but their separation from the electrodes is determined by the electromotive force needed to liberate them.
When the ions are set free at the electrodes, they may unite with the substance of the electrode or with some constituent of the solution to form secondary products.
At the electrodes, however, the small quantity of hydrogen and hydroxyl ions from the water are liberated first in cases where the ions of the salt have a higher decomposition voltage.
The obvious phenomena to be explained by any theory of electrolysis are the liberation of the products of chemical decomposition at the two electrodes while the intervening liquid is unaltered.
To explain these facts, Theodor Grotthus (1785-1822) in 1806 put forward an hypothesis which supposed that the opposite chemical constituents of an electrolyte interchanged partners all along the line between the electrodes when a current passed.
If we eliminate the reverse electromotive forces of polarization at the two electrodes, the conduction of electricity through electrolytes is found to conform to Ohm's law; that is, once the polarization is overcome, the current is proportional to the electromotive force applied to the bulk of the liquid.
If we assume that no other cause is at work, it is easy to prove that, with non-dissolvable electrodes, the ratio of salt lost at the anode to the salt lost at the cathode must be equal to the ratio of the velocity of the cation to the velocity of the anion.
Hittorf and many other observers have made experiments to determine the unequal dilution of a solution round the two electrodes when a current passes.
Thus the statement that the migration constant or transport number for a decinormal solution of copper sulphate is o 632 implies that of every gramme of copper sulphate lost by a solution containing originally one-tenth of a gramme equivalent per litre when a current is passed through it between platinum electrodes, o 632 gramme is taken from the cathode vessel and o 368 gramme from the anode vessel.
If we eliminate the polarization at the electrodes, it can be shown that an electrolyte possesses a definite electric resistance and therefore a definite conductivity.
In order that the current should be maintained, and the electromotive force of the cell remain constant during action, it is necessary to ensure that the changes in the cell, chemical or other, which produce the current, should neither destroy the difference between the electrodes, nor coat either electrode with a non-conducting layer through which the current cannot pass.
But the internal rearrangements which accompany the production of a current do not cause any change in the original nature of the electrodes, fresh zinc being exposed at the anode, and copper being deposited on copper at the cathode.
In order that positively electrified ions may enter a solution, an equivalent amount of other positive ions must be removed or negative ions be added, and, for the process to occur spontaneously, the possible action at the two electrodes must involve a decrease in the total available energy of the system.
As stated above, an electromotive force is set up whenever there is a difference of any kind at two electrodes immersed in electrolytes.
Dolezalek, however, has attributed the difference to mechanical hindrances, which prevent the equalization of acid concentration in the neighbourhood of the electrodes, rather than to any essentially irreversible chemical action.
If we connect together in series a single Daniell's cell, a galvanometer, and two platinum electrodes dipping into acidulated water, no visible chemical decomposition ensues.
It seems that this reverse electromotive force of polarization is due to the deposit on the electrodes of minute quantities of the products of chemical decomposition.
Differences between the two electrodes are thus set up, and, as we have seen above, an electromotive force will therefore exist between them.
When we use platinum electrodes in acidulated water, hydrogen and oxygen are evolved.
The metals may be introduced into the arc in various ways, and in some cases where they can be obtained in sufficient quantity the metallic electrodes may be used in the place of carbon poles.
Count Gramont 5 has been able to obtain spectro scopic evidence of the metalloids in a mineral by employing powerful condensers and heating the electrodes in an oxyhydro gen flame when these (as is often the case) are not sufficiently conducting.
The Edison electric meter, like those of Sprague and Lane-Fox, was based upon the principle that when an electric current flows through an electrolyte, such as sulphate of copper or sulphate of zinc, the electrodes being plates of copper or zinc, metal is dissolved off one plate (the anode) and deposited on the other plate (the cathode).
The whole current supplied to the house flows through an electrolytic cell consisting of a glass tube containing two platinum electrodes; the electrolyte is dilute sulphuric acid covered with a thin layer of oil to prevent evaporation.
At I volt (or higher), with electrodes about 1.2 in.
The tank is of porcelain or glazed earthenware, the electrodes for impure solutions are z in.
On passing a current of electricity, of which the volume and pressure are adjusted to the conditions of the electrolyte and electrodes, the anode slowly dissolves, leaving the insoluble impurities in the form of a sponge, if the proportion be considerable, but otherwise as a mud or slime which becomes detached from the anode surface and must be prevented from coming into contact with the cathode.
Ft., at 3 volts, passing between platinum electrodes, he attained to a current-efficiency of 52%, and each (British) electrical horse-power hour was equivalent to a production of 1378.5 grains of potassium chlorate.
It consists of a stoneware tank with a thin sheet of platinum-iridium alloy at either end forming the primary electrodes, and between them a number of glass plates reaching nearly to the bottom, each having a platinum gauze sheet on either side; the two sheets belonging to each plate are in metallic connexion, but insulated from all the others, and form intermediary or bi-polar electrodes.
Knofler and Gebauer have also a system of bi-polar electrodes, mounted in a frame in appearance resembling a filter-press.
Many of the furnaces now in constant use depend mainly on this principle, a core of granular carbon fragments stamped together in the direct line between the electrodes, as in Acheson's carborundum furnace, being substituted for the carbon pencils.