Problem: Magnesium, the element, is produced commercially by electrolysis from a molten salt (the "electrolyte") using a cell similar to the one shown below.Recall that in an electrolytic cell the anode is given the + sign and the cathode is given the - sign, which is the opposite of what we see in batteries. What half-reaction occurs at the anode in this electrolytic cell?

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We are asked for the half-reaction that occurs at the anode in this electrolytic cell.


We’re given the following electrochemical cell:

A diagram shows a box containing electrolyte with two electrodes in it, one steel and one carbon.  The negative end of a voltage source is attached to the steel electrode while the positive end is attached to the carbon electrode.  There is a thin layer of liquid Mg near the steel electrode.  Bubbles from around the carbon electrode are Cl2 (gas), which escapes through an outflow tube.


Since a voltage source is given, this is an electrolytic cellwhere a nonspontaneous process is occurring. 

Since the process is nonspontaneous, an outside energy source provides energy for it to occur.


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Problem Details

Magnesium, the element, is produced commercially by electrolysis from a molten salt (the "electrolyte") using a cell similar to the one shown below.

A diagram shows a box containing electrolyte with two electrodes in it, one steel and one carbon.  The negative end of a voltage source is attached to the steel electrode while the positive end is attached to the carbon electrode.  There is a thin layer of liquid Mg near the steel electrode.  Bubbles from around the carbon electrode are Cl2 (gas), which escapes through an outflow tube.

Recall that in an electrolytic cell the anode is given the + sign and the cathode is given the - sign, which is the opposite of what we see in batteries. What half-reaction occurs at the anode in this electrolytic cell?

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