electrolytic refining

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The purification of metals by electrolysis. It is commonly applied to copper. A large piece of impure copper is used as the anode with a thin strip of pure copper as the cathode. Copper(II) sulphate solution is the electrolyte. Copper dissolves at the anode: Cu → Cu2++2e, and is deposited at the cathode. The net result is transfer of pure copper from anode to cathode. Gold and silver in the impure copper form a so-called anode sludge at the bottom of the cell, which is recovered.

Subjects: Chemistry — Physics.

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