Electrolysis

By Emmanuel Chadwick Acebedo and Kevin Qiu
Elementary Category (Grades 4-6)
Experiment | Chemistry

For our science project this year, we will try separating water into the two elements that form H2O, which is hydrogen and oxygen. We will do it by using an interesting method called electrolysis.

Electrolysis is a method of separating two elements by pushing an electric current through a compound. Electrolysis is used in a variety of different ways such as separating copper from its ore. Hydrogen fuel cells are an alternative fuel than fossil fuels. Therefore, it is better for our environment. Learning about this method is a fun way to study important topics about science.

Our question for the science project is “Can we separate water into Hydrogen and Oxygen?”. We will try to accomplish our goal by using an interesting method of separating elements called electrolysis. Electrolysis is a method of separating elements by pushing an electric current through a compound like water. The purpose of this experiment is to get a better understanding on both water and electrolysis. Learning about this is a fun way of learning fascinating facts about important topics about science. We also chose this topic/project because it looked unique, interesting and fun.

We hypothesize that everything will go as planned if we follow the steps correctly and use the right ingredients. If we follow the steps, we should get the expected reaction/result. Also, if the graphite and pencil model does not work, we will use the metal spoon design with caution. Observation for the first time we ran the experiment the graphite pencils, there was no reaction. We think it did not work because we used sea salt instead of table salt. The second time we did the experiment, it still did not work because we still did not change the salt. Also, the graphite pencil model did not work so we used spoons instead. The third time, we used metal spoons and table salt. We submerged the spoons in the salt water then Kevin put the battery terminals on the tip of the spoons. One of the spoons did not bubble because we figured that the spoon was feeding the battery with electricity from the water. We figured it out because when we noticed that one of the spoons did not do anything we tried to do it with only one spoon but did not work so we just continued. The reaction seemed normal and the water bubbled while the water changed color from clear water to yellow, orange, green then brown. We ran it one more time before the last test. We got the same results as last time. For the last time we tried to do it longer but it just got even browner. We learned that if you were to touch the two spoons together while it is submerged, there would be a very small spark were the metal spoons touched. Also the battery will eventually heat up overtime so do not do this without gloves. We think that anything that has the length and is metal can act as leads.

In the experiment we learned many facts like salt is a electrolyte or how to separate water. The results are simple in the end we got the desired results and we got the information needed. We learned a lot of stuff about science. We had a lot of fun making the poster and researching about electrolysis.
Overall the hypothesis we made was mostly right and the project went pretty well. What went well was the spoons worked and acted like leads from the electricity from the battery. The salt let electricity roam through the water easily and the vinegar did its job and neutralized the toxic content inside the bowl. Nothing went wrong during the experiment. The only thing that did not work was the pencil model. We learned quite a lot of information during both our experiment and research. This information benefits us because it gives us an understanding of electrolysis, a bit about elements and a small amount of chemistry.

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