Electrolysis of aluminum oxide
Extraction of Aluminium - Hall (Electrolytic) Cell.
The steel container is coated with carbon (graphite) and this is the negative electrode (cathode).
Electrolysis of the alumina/cryolite solution gives aluminium at the cathode and oxygen at the anode.
Al3+ + 3e- Al (aluminium metal at the (-)cathode)
2O2- - 4e- O2 (oxygen gas at the (+)anode)
Aluminium is more dense than the alumina/cryolite solution, and so falls to the bottom of the cell where it can be tapped off as pure liquid metal.
The overall reaction is
aluminium oxide aluminium + oxygen
2Al23+O32-(l) 4Al(l) + 3O2(g)
Oxygen is discharged at the positive carbon (graphite) anode.Oxygen reacts with the carbon anode to form carbon dioxide gas.
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