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Using solar salt instead of washing soda Answered

Can I use solar salt instead of washing or baking soda for electralisas



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Jack A Lopez
Jack A Lopez

1 year ago

The word is "electrolysis"


It is one of a handful of chemical reactions that end in the word, "lysis," which is from ancient Greek, meaning "loosen" or "take apart"

Some examples:

"pyro lysis" means "take apart with fire"

"hydro lysis" means "take apart with water"

"electro lysis" means "take apart with electricity"

I am sort of hoping that will help you, or someone else, to remember how to spell the word. I mean, I throw seeds out there. Maybe some of them will take root.


In response to your question, about using "solar salt" in your electrolyte (guessing the rest of the solution is water), I think the stuff you are asking about (It is sold in 40 pound bags for use with water softeners, right?) is mostly sodium chloride (NaCl), and the chloride ions (Cl-) will likely get oxidized at the anode to chlorine gas, like so:

2 Cl-(aq) = Cl2(g) + 2 e-

You will know for sure if you are making chlorine, because it smells like chlorine bleach.


The smell is easy to recognize. It is also toxic, but I think you will notice the smell long before you make enough of it for it to be really hazardous.

In the case you want to make just hydrogen and oxygen. That is H2(g) at the cathode, and O2(g) at the anode, then you will have better luck with washing soda (sodium carbonate) or baking soda (sodium hydrogen carbonate).

Also for the electrodes, I suggest using some of those carbon rods, found inside carbon-zinc (also called "heavy duty") batteries, in particular the cylinder shaped ones, with names like AA, C, and D.

Or metal electrodes might work OK. Maybe it depends on how long they have to last.

Usually the anode, the positive electrode, is the only one where there is danger of the electrode being corroded by reaction, because that is where the oxidation (i.e. losing electrons) happens. For example, iron metal, Fe, losing electrons to become Fe+2 ions.

Fe(s) = Fe+2(aq) + 2 e-

With metal electrodes, reactions like that one might be "competing with" the reaction you want, which might be, the one that makes oxygen.

H2O = 2 H+ + 0.5 O2(g) + 2e-

By using that phrase, "competing with," I mean some of the electrons, flowing into that wire, get pulled from one reaction, some from the other, and both reactions happen simultaneously. Which reaction happens more? Well,it kind of depends...

It is supposed to be predictable, in part, by way of standard tables like this one:


For those reactions, the larger (meaning more positive) the potential, the more likely the reaction. Also all the reactions on that page are reduction reactions (with electrons on the left, on the reactants side). To get the potential for the reverse reaction, flip the sign.

I say it is supposed to be predictable, although, sometimes with chemistry experiments, you don't really know for sure what you're going to get, similar to Monte Carlo, or Forrest Gump's proverbial box of chocolates.