What Does Salt Do in the Electrolysis of Water?


Quick Answer

Salt acts as a conductor of electricity in the electrolysis of water. Table salt is called an electrolyte, meaning it can be decomposed into its ions through electrolysis.

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Full Answer

Electrolysis is a method of separating molecular compounds, such as water, into their constituent elements by passing an electric current through them. Each molecule of these compounds is bonded together by electrons. When table salt is dissolved in water, its ions are released into the solution. When an electric current is passed through the solution by the immersion of positively and negatively charged electrodes, these sets of positive and negative ions are each attracted to an oppositely charged electrode. As the ions gather around each electrode, electrons are absorbed or released, leading to the breakdown of water into hydrogen and oxygen.

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