Category Archives: 2.7 Electrolysis

Difference between a voltaic and an electrolytic cell

This animation addresses the common confusion students have between a voltaic (galvanic) cell and an electrolytic cell. The simulation published by Kent Chemistry, demonstrates a voltaic cell (Zn|ZnSO4 and Cu|CuSO4 half-cells that are connected together by a porous bridge) and the electrolysis of copper (II) sulfate solution using copper for both electrodes. Remember: A voltaic cell  converts  chemical energy into electrical energy  

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Extracting copper

How is copper extracted from copper-rich ores? Copper can be extracted from copper-rich ores by heating the ores in a furnace (roasting and smelting). Roasting and smelting both produce poisonous sulfur dioxide (SO2). Thereafter, the impure copper formed can be purified by electrolysis. Electrolysis is summarised in the diagram below and covered in the adjacent RSC video.            

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