Electricity flows easily through metal wires.
Copper, aluminum, and silver are good conductors of electricity.
Electricity can also flow easily through some salt, acid, or alkaline solutions.
When electricity flows through a solution, the solution is changed by the flow of electricity, and new substances are produced.
Salt is one of the most important substances in industry.
- When an electric current is passed through a salt solution, three very useful substances are produced: chlorine,
- hydrogen, and
- sodium hydroxide.
These three substances are so important that millions of tons of salty water are broken down each year using electricity.
Deep under the ground in some parts of the world are enormous layers of solid salt.
One method for removing the salt is to drill holes down to these layers.
Water is then pumped down some holes, and salt solution comes up through others.
This solution contains far more dissolved salt than seawater.
Electricity is passed through the salty water in special tanks to produce the chlorine, hydrogen, and sodium hydroxide.
Chlorine can be combined with hydrogen to produce hydrochloric acid.
Chlorine and sodium hydroxide also react together, producing a chemical compound called sodium hypochlorite.
So a total of five new substances can be made.