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Effects of Electric Current

Chemical effects of current

A chemical reaction takes place when an electric current passes through a conducting solution. You can easily observe the chemical effects in the form of bubbles or gases in the solution.

Take two iron nails (2.5 cm each). Wrap the free ends of an open circuit around the caps of both nails. Make sure that the circuit consists of a battery. Now, take a glass beaker and suspend both nails in it. Pour a conducting liquid such as salt solution or vinegar in it. Ensure that the caps of nails are not immersed in the solution.




The two nails are called electrodes. Let the current pass through the solution for about 5 minutes. Observe the surroundings of both the electrodes.

Do you find any change in the solution?
You can observe the formation of bubbles and gases near the electrodes. This implies that a chemical change has taken place in the solution. A chemical reaction depends on the nature of the electrode material and solution used.

You can easily observe the deposits of metal by performing the following activity:

Construct a simple open electric circuit consisting of a battery. Then, cut one half of a potato and insert the open end of the circuit in it.

Since potato is a good conductor of electricity, it allows the current to pass through it. Hence, the current flows through the circuit. Leave the circuit for about 25 minutes. Observe the inserted place of the potato carefully. Do you notice a greenish-blue spot on the potato around the positive electrode?

A chemical reaction has taken place around the positive terminal of the free end.

This shows that a chemical reaction takes place when an electric current is passed through a conductor.

Do You Know:

Electrochemical cells

The chemical effects of electric current are used in the working of electrochemical cells. If two electrodes are immersed in mineral water and a current is allowed to pass through them, then bubbles of oxygen and hydrogen are produced on the positive and negative electrodes respectively. This effect was first shown by a British Chemist, William Nicholson, in 1800.

Electrochemical cells …

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