An electrolyte is a chemical compound that, in solution or in the molten state, dissociates into ions and conducts an electric current. On passing an electric current from an external source.
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The ions in the electrolyte migrate towards the oppositely charged electrodes. Positive ions (Cations) migrate to the negative electrode (Cathode) and negative ions (Anions) to the positive electrode (Anode) and they discharge at respective electrodes
This phenomenon is called electrolysis and the container in which electrolysis occur is called electrolytic cell
Aqueous solution of Copper sulphate as Electrolyte: An aqueous solution of copper sulphate an electrolyte; a strip of pure copper metal as cathode; and a strip of impure copper as an anode.
When an electric current is passed through the aqueous solution of copper sulphate, copper ions (Cu2+) migrate towards the pure copper strip cathode, get discharge and deposit over it
Sulphate ( SO4-2 ) ions move towards the impure copper anode, dissolve its Copper into the solution as copper ions and thus keep their concentration constant in the solution
Molten Sodium chloride as Electrolyte: When Molten Sodium chloride is subjected to electrolysis .Sodium ions migrate towards Cathode and Chloride ions migrate towards Anode. At Cathode Sodium ions reduced to sodium metal ,whereas chloride ions are oxidized to chlorine gas at anode electrode.
Based on dissociation ability electrolytes are classified into two types: