1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Homework Help: Splitting Molecules and Separating the Atoms

  1. Sep 3, 2012 #1
    I know that you can split, say H2O by using electrolysis. From there the hydrogen atoms would go to the negative electrode (cathode) and the oxygen atoms would go to the positive electrode (anode). But what if you wanted to separate the two even more, such as pulling the hydrogen atoms to one place, and the oxygen to another? Is that possible?
    Also, my friend told me you could use atoms' charge to pull them. Is that true?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 3, 2012 #2
    Atoms are neutral. They cannot be pulled by electric field (unless it is so strong it rips the atoms apart). Electrolysis work because electrolytes are naturally ionized. Other substances will need to be ionized by other means for that to happen.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook