Electrolysis is fundamental to industrial processes. How was it discovered, how does it work and what are its uses?
- The Chemist Humphry Davy developed the reaction we now call electrolysis.
- Electrolysis can be used industrially in the extraction of reactive metals.
- Electrolysis can only work to split up a metal compound if it's molten or dissolved in solution.
- Electrolysis uses an electric current supplied to a solution via two charged rods, called electrodes.
Humphry Davy, 1807
In 1807, Chemist Humphry Davy was pioneering a reaction we now call electrolysis.
The first ever electric battery had just been invented, and Davy used this to pass electricity through chemical compounds.
One of Davy's first experiments was with potassium hydroxide.
Potassium hydroxide KOH
He first heated the metal compound until ...
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