Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Graphite leads in electrolysis

  1. Jun 28, 2010 #1
    What is it about graphite leads that make them so much better for electrolysis than, say, copper leads? I tried it both ways, connecting leads to a battery and then sticking them in some water and with the graphite leads there was much more bubbling going on. So what is it about the graphite? Thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 28, 2010 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    CO2 (g) + 4 H+ (aq) + 4 e- --> C (s) + 2 H2O (l) has an E0 of +0.20 V,
    making carbon somewhat easier to oxidize than copper (E0 = +0.34).

    So carbon electrodes do deteriorate slowly. The benefit is that their oxidation product (carbon dioxide) is a gas,
    so it doesn't interfere much. And that carbon is simply a lot cheaper than e.g. copper (and especially platinum).
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook