# Green color substance forming during electrolysis

A green-colored substance formed during electrolysis, wherein the electrolyte was magnesium sulfate and minerals in tap water.

I did not have any leads to stick into the water, so I just put a 9 volt Duracel battery in the solution. The battery didn't leak.

White flakes formed after 1 minute before green substance at 10 minutes. So, what is the green stuff and what are the white flakes?

• Longmire, was the edit from 'leads' to $\ce{Pb}$ in the 2nd paragraph correct? – hBy2Py Aug 26 '15 at 13:28
• Brian, I had no Pb leads so I just put the battery in the solution. You definitely got the right formula for the green salt as I later checked and confirmed your statement. Thanks! – Longmire Longsnapper Aug 27 '15 at 0:49

The green material is probably an iron(II) salt, corroded from what I assume is the steel composing the positive pole of the battery. If it has a gelatinous appearance, and slowly turned orange-ish over time, my guess would be it's $\ce{Fe(OH)2}$, with any orange color deriving from slow oxidation to various iron(III) species such as the oxide-hydroxides.
Per the above link, the white flakes are possibly that same iron(II) hydroxide, prior to reaction with $\ce{O2}$ to form the green color. Alternatively, it could be $\ce{Mg(OH)2}$, or a related magnesium compound, formed at the cathode (negative terminal) from the hydroxide ion produced by reductive water electrolysis:
$$2\ce{H2O} + 2e^- \longrightarrow \ce{H2} + 2\ce{OH-}$$