Why does electrolysis of molten NaCl yield sodium and chlorine, while electrolysis of a solution of NaCl in water yields sodium hydroxide and chlorine.
The Attempt at a Solution
Is it because H+ is more readily reduced than Na+?
2H+ + 2e --> H2 Eo= 0
2Cl- --> Cl2 + 2e Eo=-1.358
Thus, 2H+ + 2Cl- --> Cl2 H2 Eorxn=-1.358 V
And so 2H+ --> H2, leaving OH- behind in place of Cl-