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How Does Electroplating Work - Reactions - Chemistry

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Published on 19 Mar 2021 / In Science & Technology / Chemistry

⁣Learn the basics about electroplating.

The anode is positively charged, and the cathode is negatively charged. They are immersed in a solution called an electrolyte.

The electrolyte and the anode are selected based upon the material that you are electroplating with. So if you want to create a copper plate on the cathode, you would use a copper anode and a copper based electrolyte solution.

When the battery is turned on, the positively charged ions in the electrolyte are attracted to the cathode. Here, they gain electrons which is known as reduction.

When the battery is turned on, the negatively charged ions in the electrolyte solution are attracted to the anode. The atoms within the anode, so the copper atoms in copper plating, lose electrons which is known as oxidation. These copper atoms are now positively charged and dissolve into the electrolyte solution. Once in the electrolyte solution, because they are now positively charged they are attracted over to the negative cathode. Hence electroplating the cathode.

The electrons flow from the anode to the cathode.

Half equations occur at each anode, with oxidation at the anode and reduction at the cathode.

Just remember, oxidation is loss of electrons and reduction is gain.

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