Oxidation of Metal Using a Generator

  1. Hi all, this question may sound incredibly obvious to a degree of trolling, but I was having difficulty finding an online source that dealt with this subject.

    When one connects a metallic plate to, say, a positive end of a voltage source, is the metal actually oxidizing and changing to +1, +2, etc. charge, in a similar manner that you would see in a chemical reaction?

  2. jcsd
  3. DrDu

    DrDu 4,639
    Science Advisor

    In some sense yes, however, the charge per metal atom is infinitesimally small.
  4. Thanks for answering the question. May I ask whether this process of "forced" oxidation or reduction is ever used in a lab setting for chemistry to control the oxidation state, or is it not viable due to the sheer amount of emf required to displace the electrons?
  5. DrDu

    DrDu 4,639
    Science Advisor

    Somehow, this is the basic principle underlying electrochemistry.
  6. Derp. Apologies for obliviousness; the idea didn't occur to me at that moment.
    In a different but similar question, when a metal is oxidized, what prevents the positively charged metallic ions from completely repelling each other and falling apart all at once during something like reverse electroplating? Wouldn't the metallic bonds between the metal atoms be greatly weakened or reduced to zero once the metal is oxidized completely?
  7. DrDu

    DrDu 4,639
    Science Advisor

    As I said before, the charges accumulating on a metal plate are very small compared to the number of charge carriers in a metal, and, the charges are localized on the surface of the plate. Hence they have practically no effect on cohesion in the metal. However, on the surface, the fields may become high and lead to ionization (field ionization). A process similar to what you have in mind is electrospray ionization
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thead via email, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Draft saved Draft deleted