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Abstract

This science fair project was done to investigate the effect of increasing DC voltage and the concentration of electrolyte salt on the rate of production of hydrogen gas during the process of electrolysis.

Hypothesis

A higher DC voltage applied to the electrolysis process will increase the rate at which hydrogen gas is produced. The second hypothesis is that the rate of production of hydrogen gas will increase as the concentration of electrolyte salt is increased.

Scientific Terms

Electrolysis, electrolyte, ions, cations, anions, electrodes, anode, cathode

Background

Electrolysis process

The electrolysis process is a chemical reaction that takes place in an electrolyte solution when electricity is passed through it. The electrolyte solution contains both positive and negative ions. The positive ions are called anions while the negative ions are known as cations. Both the anions and cations will move freely inside the electrolyte solution.
Conductors, called electrodes, are connected to the battery terminals and immersed in the electrolyte solution for the electrolysis process to take place. The cathode is the electrode that is connected to the negative terminal of the battery. The anode is the electrode connected to the positive terminal of the battery.

When the terminals of the battery are connected to the electrodes and immersed in the electrolyte, anions will move towards the anode while cations will move towards the cathode.

When the ions reach the surface of the electrodes, the following reactions may happen:
a.    Deposits may form on the electrode surfaces.
b.    Gases may be released from the electrodes.
c.    The deposits and gases formed, may subsequently be dissolved in the electrolyte.
 

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Complexity level:
7
Project cost ($):
20
Time required:
1 hour to prepare, 1 hour for this science fair project
Material availability:
Easily available at a hobby store
Safety concerns:

Use only batteries. Do not connect the wires to a mains supply.