Session S30b (Tuesday, 2pm, Osmond 119)

P482: Electrolytic chemical reactions: Demonstrations for high school and undergraduate chemistry laboratory

Rajeev Dabke (Columbus State University, USA)

We recently embarked on a program aimed at improving undergraduate experience in the area of electrochemistry. In view of this program, we developed an easy to construct electrolysis apparatus to illustrate the anodic and cathodic reactions in an entertaining way. In this demonstration [1] an aqueous electrolyte containing a pH indicator will be fed to a Y-shaped electrolysis cell. Two wings of the cell will be connected to two vertically positioned Pasteur pipet fountains. A direct current from a 9-V battery will be supplied to the electrodes to generate H3O+(aq) and OH-(aq) ions in the respective electrode compartments. Production of OH- (aq) will change the pH of the flowing electrolyte resulting in a colorful fountain. Different pH indicators will be used to produce fountains of a variety of colors. Colors of two fountains will be exchanged by reversing the electrode polarities. This demonstration can be performed in an undergraduate or high school chemistry laboratory or a classroom. The pedagogical objectives, step-by-step procedure, and variations in the activity will be discussed.

[1] Dabke, R. B.; Scott, J. The Chemical Educator 2010, 15, 36-38.

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