How To: Make sulfuric acid - electrochemically

Make sulfuric acid - electrochemically

How to Make sulfuric acid - electrochemically

You already know how to make sulfuric acid with the metabisulfite and oxidizer method and you saw how to make copper sulfate from copper and sulfuric acid, so now try making sulfuric acid with these two in mind… with sulfuric acid by electrolysis of copper using an inert anode.

Watch this science video tutorial from Nurd Rage on how to make sulfuric acid (copper sulfate electrochemical method) with Dr. Lithium.

Copper sulfate is easy to obtain in large quantities at gardening / hardware stores and provides a convenient route to sulfuric acid if the appropriate anode can be obtained.

Warning: This should be done in a well-ventilated area as hydrogen gas build up is explosive. Copper sulfate is toxic and sulfuric acid is corrosive, wear gloves.

The procedure is extremely simple, just get a copper sulfate solution, insert two electrodes and run a current through them. The anode, the positive electrode, must be an inert material that can withstand extremely oxidizing conditions. Very few materials meet this condition, platinum, lead dioxide, and carbon among them. Other metals, even stainless steel, are quickly destroyed under these conditions and cannot be used. The cathode, the negative electrode, is exposed to reducing conditions so the metal requirements are must less stringent. Copper is the best choice here since it has high electrical conductivity.

When applying power, the current should be adjusted so that corrosion at the positive terminal and bubbling at the negative terminal are both minimized. The bubbling at the negative terminal is hydrogen production and thats wasted energy that should have gone into reducing the copper sulfate.

Brought to you by one of WonderHowTo's favorite scientists, NurdRage.

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