I have two questions: one practical question and one conceptual question.

1) I'm trying to set up an electrolysis experiment and I am trying to make sure I am going to end up with the gases that I think I will. I am planning on using stainless steel electrodes, and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) as the salt, dissolved in distilled water. I am not using NaCl, as I believe it would produce some chlorine gas as well.My thought is that using sodium bicarbonate, I would get hydrogen and oxygen gas, but I am unsure if it would produce some CO2 as well...

Basically I am not sure what the intermediate reactions are, and I am not sure how the baking soda breaks up and what you are left with. I am trying to produce hydrogen and oxygen gas, and I want the 2 to 1 ratio, so I want to make sure I am not getting other gases as well (I don't care so much about any solids produced, so long as they are not dangerous.

2) Also a side question that I have been wondering about: I have been looking at different electrolysis experiments online, and I have found two different types. From what I understand, one type uses two electrodes that are separated from each other, and the current is allowed to pass through the solution, which conducts electricity due to the ions and breaks up the water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The second type I have found is composed of multiple plates to increase surface area. (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzXcmrdDUUGNOFc2cUJldnBJRnc/view)

From what I understand, they are spaced so that they alternate between positive and negative, though I saw some that use neutral plates (not sure what those are for). I believe hydrogen and oxygen bubbles are then formed on the surface of the metal. What is really happening in each setup (where are the bubbles being formed...) and are they really different at all, or is it just about the size of the gap? And what is the purpose of the neutral plates?

Thanks so much for your help! -Abe

  • $\begingroup$ This seems rather far from broad. It asks what the reaction product of electrolysing a sodium bicarbonate solution would be and what the purpose of neutral electrodes would be in a cell. $\endgroup$ – KalleMP Feb 1 '18 at 9:07