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Chemical Effects of Electric Current

  • Last Updated : 16 Jun, 2021

It is advised not to touch any electrical item with moist hands. It is dangerous to use moist hands to operate an electrical appliance as it causes harm to us. Good conductors of electricity are materials that allow an electric current to flow through them. Materials that do not easily allow an electric current to flow through them, on the other hand, are poor conductors of electricity. Metals such as copper and aluminum have been discovered to carry electricity, whereas rubber, plastic, and wood do not.

A tester to check the conduction of electricity in distilled and Impure water.

The circuit of the tester is complete when the liquid between the two ends of the tester permits the electric current to pass. The bulb lights when current flows across the circuit. The circuit of the tester is not complete and the bulb does not glow when the liquid does not allow the electric current to flow.

Another tester

Despite the fact that a material can carry electricity, It may not be able to carry electricity like a metal. The tester’s circuit may be complete, the fact that the current flowing through it may be too weak to light the bulb. In that case, the effect of an electric current is considered to create a different type of tester. Regardless of whether the current is small, it is possible to observe a magnetic needle deflection. A tester is made by using the magnetic effect of current.

Chemical effects of electric current

When it flows through a conducting solution it always produces some effect. Chemical reactions occur when an electric current passes through a conducting solution. As a result, gas bubbles could form on the electrodes, metal deposits can be detected on electrodes and it may possible that the color of the solution will change. The type of solution and electrodes are used will determine the reaction and its effects. 

Testing potato

Lets consider an experiment to see if some fruits and vegetables can likewise conduct electricity. Cut the potato into two parts and inserted the two copper terminals or wires of a tester into one-half part of the potato.  After half an hour, it is observed that a greenish-blue mark on the potato around one wire whereas there was no such spot around the other wire.  It is always the wire attached to the positive terminal that has a greenish-blue spot around it.



This experiment is set out to test whether the potato conducted electricity or not. This experiment is tested so that to see a chemical effect current produced in the potato. 

Tester: A tester is a piece of electrical equipment that is used to determine whether or not there is an electric current present. It’s commonly a conductor with a LED or bulb to show that there’s current in the circuit.

Electroplating: Women are frequently seen wearing jewelry that looks to be made of gold. The gold covering, however, fades off with time, revealing silver or another metal beneath. Metal has a covering of another metal in this case.

Electroplating is the process of depositing a layer of any desired metal on another material using electricity. It’s one of the most frequent uses of electric current’s chemical effects.

A simple circuit showing electroplating

Let us understand the process of Electroplating with an example: 

  • Copper sulphate dissociates into copper and sulphate when an electric current is passed through the solution. 
  • The free copper gets drawn to the electrode linked to the battery’s negative terminal and gets deposits on it. 
  • An equivalent amount of copper is dissolved in the solution from the other electrode. 
  • As a result, copper is lost from the solution. The process is still in progress as the loss of copper from the solution is restored. 
  • This means that copper gets transferred from one electrode to the other.

The procedure of electroplating is really beneficial. In industry, it’s commonly used to coat metal things with a thin layer of a different metal. The layer of metal deposited has some desired property, which the metal of the object doesn’t have. For example, chromium plating is done on many objects such as automobile parts, bath taps, kitchen gas burners, bicycle handlebars, wheel rims as well as numerous others. It has a shiny appearance, does not corrode, and resists scratches.

Some other applications of Electroplating are,

  • To prevent corrosion and rust, zinc is applied to the iron.
  • Silver and gold plating for jewelry.
  • Tin is less reactive than iron, it is used to coat tin onto iron for cans.

Sample Problems 

Problem 1: When the free ends of a tester are dipped into a solution, the magnetic needle shows deflection. Can you explain the reason?



Solution:

The effect of an electric current is considered to create a different type of tester. Regardless of whether the current is small, it is possible to observe a magnetic needle deflection. A tester is made by using the magnetic effect of current. The magnetic needle deflection indicates that the circuit is complete and that the solution conducts electricity, indicating that it is a good conductor.

Problem 2: When the free ends of a tester are dipped into a solution, the magnetic needle shows deflection. Can you explain the reason?

Solution: 

Due to the following reasons, the bulb may not glow:

  • A loose connection: A loose connection makes the circuit incomplete as it does not allow current to flow in the circuit.
  • A fuse bulb is used: A fuse bulb does not glow as the filament gets broken.
  • A discharged battery is used: A discharged battery doesn’t have power stored in it.
  • The liquid used is distilled water: Distilled water is a poor conductor of electricity because it lacks dissolved salts that can provide it with ions needed to conduct electricity.
  • A weak current is flowing in the circuit: A weak current does not have the power to heat the filament up to a level that makes then glow.

Problem 3: Does pure water conduct electricity? If not, what can we do to make it conducting?

Solution:

No, pure water doesn’t conduct electricity. When salt is dissolved in pure water, it conducts electricity as it provide it with ions needed to conduct electricity.

Problem 4: What are conductors and insulators?



Solution:

Conductors are materials that allow an electric current to flow through them. Materials that do not easily allow an electric current to flow through them, on the other hand, are poor conductors of electricity. Metals such as copper and aluminum have been discovered to carry electricity, whereas rubber, plastic, and wood do not.

Problem 5: What is electroplating? What are the applications of Electroplating?

Solution:

Electroplating is the process of depositing a layer of any desired metal on another material using electricity. It’s one of the most frequent uses of electric current’s chemical effects. 

The procedure of electroplating is really beneficial. In industry, it’s commonly used to coat metal things with a thin layer of a different metal. The layer of metal deposited has some desired property, which the metal of the object doesn’t have. For example, chromium plating is done on many objects such as automobile parts, bath taps, kitchen gas burners, bicycle handlebars, wheel rims as well as numerous others. It has a shiny appearance, does not corrode, and resists scratches.

Some other applications of Electroplating are,

  • To prevent corrosion and rust, zinc is applied to the iron.
  • Silver and gold plating for jewelry.
  • Tin is less reactive than iron, it is used to coat tin onto iron for cans.

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