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A simple method of investigating the electrolysis of Basic Copper Chloride (WSDTY) solution is described. The formation of the products of electrolyzing aqueous copper chloride is fully explained with the appropriate electrode equations. What are the products of the electrolysis of aqueous copper chloride solution?

Electrolysis (of copper chloride) is a way of splitting up (decomposition) of the compound (copper chloride) using electrical energy. The electrical energy comes from a d.c. (direct current) battery or power pack supply. A conducting liquid, containing ions, called the electrolyte (aqueous or molten sodium chloride), must contain the compound (copper chloride) that is being broken down. The electricity must flow through electrodes dipped into the electrolyte to complete the electrical circuit with the battery. Electrolysis can only happen when the circuit is complete, and electrical current (electricity) is flowing, then the products of electrolyzing aqueous copper(II) chloride solution is released on the electrode surfaces where they can be collected. Electrolysis always involves a flow of electrons in the external wires and electrodes and a flow of ions in the electrolyte and there is always a reduction at the negative cathode electrode (which attracts positive ions, cations) and an oxidation at the positive anode electrode (which attracts negative ions, anions) and it is the ions which are discharged to give the products. These revision notes on the electrolysis of copper chloride solution should prove useful for the new AQA chemistry, Edexcel chemistry & OCR chemistry GCSE (9–1, 9-5 & 5-1) science courses.

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