Baking soda is a multipurpose product that you have there in your kitchen. You may already be using it for leavening as well as cleaning. Do you know that electrolysis process may be used in cleaning rust and other substances that are hard to remove with normal cleaning? Yes, that’s true, you can actually try it out yourself with distilled water and a little bit of baking soda.
Electrolysis is the process of passing electric current through an ionic substance. The chemical reaction that takes place at the electrodes causes separation of materials. In a way the electric current drives a non spontaneous chemical reaction. You may already be aware of electrolysis process using salt. However, adding baking soda is a better and safer option. For this experiment you need to collect a few things. You need to have a non metallic container, a bit of baking soda, distilled water and 2 forks, spoons or rods as electrodes. You can try how it cleans by using a tarnished coin. Don’t forget to get an AC/DC power supply of at least 500 mA and 4 to 15 VDC. Ensure that you do not get one that exceeds 1000 mA. You also need three alligators clips in this process.
To start the experiment add distilled water which is the electrolyte to the container, about ¾ full. Take the fork or rods and attach wires to it. Drape them over the side of the container; make sure that the wires are not submerged. Attach the coin to an alligator clip and submerge in the electrolyte. Once you do this, plug in the transformer. Take a bit of baking soda and mix it to distilled water. It is better to use a wooden spoon or spatula. In a few minutes the coin starts to fizz if the right wires are attached to it. If it doesn’t fizz then make sure to exchange them. After some time you will find the matter on the coin being removed. To speed up the process add more baking soda.
Baking soda and salt are the active ingredients of this process. In other words they are the electrolytes that attract positive and negative ions. This is what helps remove deposits or corrosion off the coins. Using baking soda the cleaning process may seem slower. However, it keeps the electrolyte cleaner. You may use tap water instead of distilled water. However, distilled water is preferable as it contains little impurities and minerals.
In the process of electrolysis when electric current is passed through an electrolyte migration of positively charged ion to the negative electrode and vice versa takes place. You may say that the process is like creating a battery. You can clean quite a few things. It is useful in removing or at least softening rust from iron and paint from sheets such that it may peeled off. Even rust between a seized bolt and its nut can be softened with electrolysis making it easier to remove it.
Mostly washing soda or salt is used in this experiment. You may try using a bit of baking soda and the results are sure to show it as a better cleanser.