I did the $\ce{H2O}$ electrolysis experiment a few times, but every time a huge amount of the oxygen reacted with its corresponding electrode. What material should the electrode be made of in order to maximise the amount of oxygen I get?

  • $\begingroup$ a platinum electrode would be inert in such an electrolysis experiment. $\endgroup$ – MaxW Nov 15 '15 at 2:20
  • $\begingroup$ Graphite electrodes also work quite well, they can be found in pencils and if they by any chance do erode, they can be replaced cheaply. $\endgroup$ – sadljkfhalskdjfh Mar 20 '16 at 13:28

It depends on the electrolyte as well as the electrode material. For example, $\ce{NaCl}$ releases atomic chlorine at the positive electrode, quickly attacking most materials except metals of the $\ce{Pt}$ group, as @MaxW mentions.

$\ce{NaOH}$ or $\ce{KOH}$ are a bit gentler on the electrodes. Run the apparatus at a low over-voltage to avoid damaging them. Coated nickel electrodes are suggested for use with alkaline solutions.

Phosphoric acid is also suggested as an electrolyte.


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