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In electro-chemistry, we always use Metal and Metal ion electrolyte. My question is 1. why Water is not used as electrolyte. (because books only refer to Metal/Metal ion type electrods, they dont use water in it)

  1. when magnesium electrods are made, Why Magnesium dont react with water or magnesium solution instead of showing redox reaction?
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  • $\begingroup$ I am just using sodium just as example to understand the concept. $\endgroup$
    – aman
    May 13, 2016 at 5:33
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    $\begingroup$ Your question seems to rely on some very specific premises. Electrochemistry in general is way broader than that. Water is very much used as electrolyte when it is suitable, or not used when it is not. Sodium would react with 1M $\ce{NaOH(aq)}$ just as violently as it does with water. $\endgroup$ May 13, 2016 at 7:59
  • $\begingroup$ So This means sodium electrode is not possible? So how magnesium electrods are made. Dont they react with water Or magnesium solution, to release hydrogen, instead of showing redox reaction? $\endgroup$
    – aman
    May 14, 2016 at 2:12

1 Answer 1

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In electro-chemistry, we always use Metal and Metal ion electrolyte.

And, from a comment:

I am just using sodium just as example to understand the concept.

I concur with Ivan Neretin: you seem to be in possession of some bad information. Unless you're referring to some specific electrochemical process requiring the use of metallic sodium, in general water is used extensively as an electrolyte for electrochemistry. At my work, we use aqueous electrolytes almost exclusively in the course of our electrochemical process development.

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  • $\begingroup$ So It means Sodium cant be used as Metal/ Metal ion electrod? which metals are generally used to make electrods ? $\endgroup$
    – aman
    May 14, 2016 at 2:04
  • $\begingroup$ actually in some question, Book was referring to Magnesium electrode. So i wasnt able to grasp the concept (as Elements of 1 and 2 group are reactive with Water) . SO I just went little extreme in my example and took sodium. $\endgroup$
    – aman
    May 14, 2016 at 2:08
  • $\begingroup$ @aman No, sodium won't work, it's too reactive with water. While magnesium metal does react with water, it's a pretty slow reaction. I could see it being feasible if it's used as a cathode and kept polarized. Gold, platinum, glassy carbon, and graphite are pretty common academic electrodes; steel (mild or stainless, depending), titanium, aluminum, tantalum, niobium, and brass/bronze are all materials I've heard of being used. Highly application-dependent. $\endgroup$
    – hBy2Py
    May 14, 2016 at 2:49

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