Concentration of electrolyte for the electrolysis of water?

In summary: Which is not only dangerous but also inefficient. The higher the voltage the more energy is wasted as heat.
  • #1
I'm doing an experiment with the electrolysis of water, and I'm hoping to vary the electrolyte concentration (Epsom salt/MgSO4) to see changes in the rate of gas production.

I was planning to just do intervals from no salt to maximum solubility, but was wondering whether there might be any safety concerns or ways the experiment might be unsuccessful? From two example labs online, I saw that there was generally a 17:1 ish ratio of water to the salt, but I wasn't sure if that was just because the rate was good for experiments, or if there is something I might need to be worried about at higher concentrations?

Thanks! :D
 
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  • #2
Nothing comes to mind - I mean there are some inherent dangers when dealing with hydrogen and oxygen produced, there are some obvious problems with electricity, but they don't depend on the electrolyte concentration and in general Epsom salt is reasonably safe. Standard lab precautions and you should be good.
 
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  • #3
Borek said:
Nothing comes to mind - I mean there are some inherent dangers when dealing with hydrogen and oxygen produced, there are some obvious problems with electricity, but they don't depend on the electrolyte concentration and in general Epsom salt is reasonably safe. Standard lab precautions and you should be good.
Okay, thank you so much! I really appreciate it! :)
 
  • #4
Borek said:
Nothing comes to mind - I mean there are some inherent dangers when dealing with hydrogen and oxygen produced, there are some obvious problems with electricity, but they don't depend on the electrolyte concentration and in general Epsom salt is reasonably safe. Standard lab precautions and you should be good.
Does electrolyte concentration affect the rate of reaction? Since the electrolysis of water is only possible in the presence of electricity, wouldn't a more conductive solution would require less voltage to achieve the same amperage?
 
  • #5
Mayhem said:
Does electrolyte concentration affect the rate of reaction?

Yes, according to Faraday's laws the rate is proportional to the current.
 
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  • #6
DrStupid said:
Yes, according to Faraday's laws the rate is proportional to the current.
Ah yes, thank you for reminding me of those equations.
 
  • #7
Mayhem said:
Does electrolyte concentration affect the rate of reaction? Since the electrolysis of water is only possible in the presence of electricity, wouldn't a more conductive solution would require less voltage to achieve the same amperage?

Sure thing, but the question was about dangers involved and changes in concentration don't make the process more or less dangerous (at least as long as we don't deal with ultra pure, 18MΩ water, which requires extreme voltages).
 
  • #8
Borek said:
18MΩ water, which requires extreme voltages

Which is not only dangerous but also inefficient. The higher the voltage the more energy is wasted as heat.
 

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