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Salt Bridge Over Electrified Waters Background Essay

657 words - 3 pages

Salt Bridge Over Electrified Waters
“Chemistry is the study of substances; their properties, structure, and the changes they undergo” (Lower). Chemistry is the study of all the stuff in the world and especially how they change. My experiment deals mostly with the change of substances. Some of the concepts involved in my experiment are Oxidation/Reduction (redox) reactions, electrolysis, pH, and electrical currents. A redox reaction is a reaction in which there is a transfer of electrons from one substance to another. There are two paired parts to a redox reaction: the oxidation and the reduction. The oxidation is the loss of electrons while the reduction is the gain of electrons. They always occur together because one substance has to receive the electrons that another substance is giving up. Electrolysis is a process where electricity goes through a liquid, which causes chemical reactions to occur. pH is the measure of ...view middle of the document...

The importance of my experiment is mostly an application to batteries and electricity. By knowing how the pH level change when there is a current going through a liquid allows a scientist to know what type of container is needed to make sure that a strong acid/base doesn’t go through the material. By knowing about changes in pH in liquids it allows people to be better prepared and choose the right material to contain the current/battery, so it doesn’t burn through the material.
Electrolysis was discovered by Anthony Carlisle and William Nicholson, who discovered electrolysis by accident. They were doing experiments involving electricity and used a drop of water to help maintain a good contact and noticed the production of gas. Soon after, they hooked up a tube of water to what was a battery at their time and found that oxygen and hydrogen moved to different probes, thus discovering electrolysis.
My experiment is trying to find the change that occurs to the pH of a solution when electrolysis occurs. It consists of two salt solutions and a “salt bridge”. That bridge is a paper towel between the two solutions and is fully wetted. Then a battery supplies power to the solutions with the positive anode in one solution and the negative cathode in another solution. Then I will gather data about the pH change in the two solutions and also data about the amount of current that flows on the “salt bridge”.
I chose the experiment for a couple reasons. One of them was that I was looking for a chemistry or physics experiment to do for the science fair, and I had come up with several options. I was more interested in the chemistry experiments, as the seemed more exciting to do than some of the physics projects. I narrowed my choice down to this project because of a couple factors. First, it was a very interesting experiment. It was kind of a new twist on an experiment that I had seen before, electrolysis. Also, the variables that were being measured were ones that I was fascinated by. I had always thought that pH and electricity were very interesting. Acids and bases were always something I had related with chemistry, so this seemed like the ideal chemistry experiment.

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