Unknown Electrolysis(?) reaction occurring

In summary, the conversation discussed an experimental setup of a Marx bank with electrolytic liquid resistors. The electrodes were made of copper but there were indications of plating or other reactions occurring, leading to the assumption that they were not pure copper. Air bubbles were also forming, possibly due to the reactions happening. The person asked for advice on how to determine the reaction occurring and if there were other possible reactions besides electrolytic plating. The liquid resistors were replaced and current was run through the tubes to ensure correct resistance. The electrodes also showed pitting and there was a possibility of water electrolysis being the main gas-producing reaction.
  • #1
Booshh
7
1
I have obtained an experimental setup of a Marx bank which has electrolytic liquid resistors. In the tubing of the resistors are various strength solutions of copper sulfate. I was told that the electrodes are copper but there appears to be some sort of plating or other reaction occurring. This leads me to believe that the electrodes are not pure copper. Air bubbles are forming from what I presume is this reaction as there are no apparent leaks. There also is some sort of sludge forming around the electrodes and is also settling in the lower parts of the tubing due to gravity. Does anyone have any kind of advice on how I could determine what reaction is actually occurring here? Or does anyone have any insight on what other possible reactions could be occurring besides electrolytic plating?

The liquid resistors were replaced and we made sure that there were no air bubbles within each tube prior to installation. Current was run through the tubes to ensure they had the correct resistance. Most of the larger electrodes have pitting occurring as you can see in one of the attached photos.
 

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  • #3
Most obvious gas producing reaction would be just a water electrolysis.
 

1. What is electrolysis?

Electrolysis is a process in which an electric current is used to induce a non-spontaneous chemical reaction, typically involving the decomposition of a compound.

2. How does electrolysis work?

During electrolysis, an electrical current is passed through an electrolyte, which is a substance that can conduct electricity. The current causes a chemical reaction to occur, resulting in the breakdown of the electrolyte into its component parts.

3. What are some examples of unknown electrolysis reactions?

Examples of unknown electrolysis reactions include the decomposition of water into hydrogen and oxygen gas, the decomposition of sodium chloride into sodium metal and chlorine gas, and the decomposition of molten lead(II) bromide into lead metal and bromine gas.

4. How can unknown electrolysis reactions be identified?

Unknown electrolysis reactions can be identified through various methods, such as conducting experiments with different electrolytes and observing the products formed, analyzing the electrolyte's properties and behavior under different conditions, and using analytical techniques such as spectroscopy to determine the components of the electrolyte.

5. What are the practical applications of electrolysis?

Electrolysis has many practical applications, including in the production of metals such as aluminum and sodium, the purification of metals, the production of chlorine gas for water treatment and industrial processes, and the production of hydrogen gas for use as a fuel source.

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