# Identity of a green substance formed during electrolysis reaction?

I did a short experiment in which I connected a $1.5\:\mathrm{V}$ battery with 2 paper clips into a bowl of water to which I added salt. After a while, I saw a yellowish-greenish cloud inside the water around one of the paper clips, and when I took it out, the part that was in the water was more black than the rest of the paper clip. After a while, some of it turned into a greenish color. What caused the paper clip to change its color?

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More information would be helpful. Were they both steel paper clips? What is the electrolyte? –  Chris Jul 27 '12 at 22:27
I think the paper clips are made out of steel, and the electrolyte is NaCl. –  Omer Jul 27 '12 at 22:32
Mono's answer and the comments are mostly on the money. If you want to try this again, you need both a different electrolyte and electrodes. Simplest would probably be magnesium sulfate (Epson salts) and carbon rods, respectively. Make certain to wrap the connection of the carbon rods and the wires to your battery with waterproof tape to avoid reactions with the wire (i.e. the comments about your paper clips). Good luck--I love this experiment! –  trb456 Jul 28 '12 at 0:57