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CHM171L Physical Chemistry Laboratory 2

1st Quarter SY 2017-2018

Experiment 1: Electrochemistry: Determination of Faraday’s Constant

Palmares, XZ Louise Pauleen1, Saylon, Kyle Zandrex A.1, Sayurin, Juan Carlos H.1, Villaflor, Shekinah1
Student, CHM171L/B41, School of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, Mapúa University


The Faraday’s constant, which represents the amount of electric current per mole or Avogadro’s number
of electrons, is experimentally quantified via electrolysis, which utilizes electrodes which has opposite
polarities or charges. A non-spontaneous disassociation of Copper and Sulfate ions in a solution is
catalyzed by an external source of electric current for two minutes via an electrolytic analyzer. The
electrodes in the set-up are comprised of a negatively-charged anode, wherein oxidation occurs, and a
positively-charged cathode, where reduction carries out. The equation of Faraday’s law of electrolysis,
which is the equation making the experimental determination of Faraday’s constant possible, requires
the mass of deposited cation, which in the case of this experiment is Copper. The electrodes’ weights are
determined, before and after the Copper deposited on its surface and the difference between the weights
of electrode with and without Copper is the weight of the Copper that deposited to the surface of the
electrode. Results reveal that the electric charge is directly proportional with the mass of the copper
deposited. It was observed that the slight difference of the experimental value of the Faraday’s constant
to the literature value are may be caused by the equipment used particularly the electrodes, copper sulfate
solution and the electrolytic analyzer.

Keywords: Faraday’s Constant, Electrolysis, Electrodes, Oxidation, Reduction

Introduction gain them (be reduced). This process is called

electrolysis. Electrolysis is being used to force
For this experiment, electrolysis of Copper
a non – spontaneous oxidation – reduction
will be performed to determine the
reaction to occur (Schullery, Rittenhouse, &
experimental value of Faraday’s constant.
Nord, 2015).
Copper sulfate solution will be undergoing
electrolysis and this will be made possible Faraday’s first law of electrolysis can be stated
using the electrolytic analyzer equipment. as follows: The amount of a substance
produced or consumed at one of the electrodes
An electro chemical cell is composed of two
in an electrolytic cell is directly proportional
electrodes in contact with an ionic conductor
to the electricity that passes through the cell
which may be a solution, a liquid or a solid.
(Bodner, 2004).
One type of an electrochemical cell is an
electrolytic cell in which a non –spontaneous The unit for electric current is ampere, which
reaction is being driven through an external is the charge carried in coulombs per second:
source of current (Atkins & de Paula, 2014). 1 amp = 1 C s-1. The charge of a single
electron is –e; where e is the fundamental unit
Using the current, electrons can be drawn
away from a chemical that is reluctant to lose of electric charge: 1 e- = 1.60218x10-19 C.
them (be oxidized), and forced electrons to
The charge carried by a mole of electrons is –
1 F, with the Faraday defined as the charge of
a mole of fundamental charges:

1 F = e NA = 1.60218x10-19 C
XZ.L.P. Palmares, K.Z.A. Saylon, J. C. H. Sayurin, S. Villaflor 2

Faraday’s constant establishes the equivalence

of electric charge and chemical change in
oxidation/reduction reactions. The charge
carried through the cell is: Q = It (constant
current) where I is the current in amperes and t
is the time the current is applied in seconds. A
current of one amp flowing for one second
transfers one coulomb of charge: 1 amp s = 1 C
s-1 s = 1 C. If the current varies with time, the
total charge carried is the integral of the current
from time equals zero to time:
t: Q = ∫0 𝑑𝑡 (varying current).

This experiment aims to determine the effect of

current on electrolytic reactions at a given time,
to determine the experimental value of
Faraday’s constant and to familiarize the
students with the electrolytic analyzer

XZ.L.P. Palmares, K.Z.A. Saylon, J. C. H. Sayurin, S.Villaflor 4

Results and Discussion

The experiment dealt with the determination of coating on the cathode. Cu(s) is deposited on the
the Faraday’s Constant using the process of cathode because Cu2+ is attracted to it and
Electroplating. This process applies the exchanges the electrons to the anode.
Faraday’s Laws of Electrolysis. The first law of
It can be observed that the area of electrode
Faraday’s Laws of Electrolysis states that the
submerged into the solution doesn’t affect the
deposition of chemicals caused by current
amount of Cu(s) deposited. This is because, as
flowing through and electrolyte is directly
stated in the first law of Faraday’s Laws of
proportional to the amount of electricity passed
Electrolysis, the amount of metal deposited is
through it. This was observed when a CuSO4
directly proportional to the current passing
solution was used as an electrolyte and Pt as an
through the electrode. Since the current for each
run is kept constant, the amount of Cu(s)
Tables 1 and 2 show the amount of Cu(s) deposited must be constant as well. The mass of
deposited on the Pt electrode, the moles of Cu(s) deposited was computed by getting the
electrons equivalent to the amount of Cu(s) difference between the weight of the electrodes
deposited, and the computed Faraday’s before and after the electroplating process.
Constant. Each trial consists of 4 runs wherein
From tables 1 and 2, it can be observed that the
one-fourth, one-half, three-fourth, and the
computed Faraday’s Constant is near one
whole Pt electrode is submerged into the CuSO4
another confirming that it is indeed a constant.
solution. When an electric current is allowed to
Furthermore, if the time was increased to allow
pass through the electrode, a redox reaction
the process to occur, it can be expected that
occurs which is given by:
more metal will be deposited on the electrode.
𝐶𝑢2+ + 2𝑒 − → 𝐶𝑢(𝑠) The same phenomenon will be observed when
the amount of electricity allowed to pass
The dissolved cation, in this case, Cu2+, is through the electrodes were increased. Given
reduced which results to the formation of Cu these relationships, the amount of Cu(s)
coatz deposited on
Table 1. Computed Faraday’s Constant (Trial 1)
Mass of Cu2+ Moles of Cu2+ Moles of Electron, Computed Faraday’s
Deposited, g Deposited, mol mol Constant, C
A (1/4) 0.204 3.2103 x 10-3 6.4206 x 10-3 93449.2104
B (1/2) 0.211 3.3204 x 10-3 6.6408 x 10-3 90349.763
C (3/4) 0.220 3.4621 x 10-3 6.9242 x 10-3 86653.6364
D (1) 0.164 2.5808 x 10-3 5.1616 x 10-3 116242.6829

Table 2. Computed Faraday’s Constant (Trial 2)

Mass of Cu2+ Moles of Cu2+ Moles of Electron, Computed Faraday’s
Deposited, g Deposited, mol mol Constant, C
A (1/4) 0.208 3.2732 x 10-3 6.5464 x 10-3 91653.4278
B (1/2) 0.197 3.1001 x 10-3 6.2002 x 10-3 96771.0719
C (3/4) 0.225 3.5407 x 10-3 7.0814 x 10-3 84729.0084
D (1) 0.206 3.2417 x 10-3 6.4835 x 10-3 92542.6082
XZ.L.P. Palmares, K.Z.A. Saylon, J. C. H. Sayurin, S.Villaflor 4

deposited on the electrode is dependent on the was allowed to occur. Using the data gathered
amount of electricity passing through the from the experiment, the Faraday’s Constant
electrode and the amount of time the process can be computed.






0 0.25 0.5 0.75 1 1.25
Computed Faraday's Constant Trial 1 Actual Faraday's Constant

Computed Faraday's Constant Trial 2

Figure 1: Plot of Computed Faraday’s Constant vs. the actual Faraday’s Constant

Table 3 shows the percentage error between the solution is contaminated with other chemicals
computed Faraday’s constant and the actual thus the group will procure erroneous data.
Faraday’s constant which is equal to Another source of error is the incorrect handling
96485.3329 C. It can be observed that a few of of the electrodes used. The electrodes might not
the computed constants were of the acceptable be very dry when it was weighed therefore
range. discrepancies with the weight of the electrode
after electroplating may be observed. To
One major source of error is the purity of the
improve the results, these errors must be
CuSO4 solution used. It is possible that the

Table 3. Percentage Error between Computed and Actual Value of Faraday’s Constant
Trial 1
Run Computed Faraday’s Constant, C Percentage Error, %
A 93449.2104 3.1467
B 90349.763 6.3591
C 86653.6364 10.1898
D 116242.6829 20.4771
Trial 2
Run Computed Faraday’s Constant, C Percentage Error, %
A 91653.4278 5.0079
B 96771.0719 0.2961
C 84729.0084 12.1846
D 92542.6082 4.0863
5 Electrochemistry: Determination of Faraday’s Constant

Conclusion References

Atkins, P., & Paula, J. (2010). Physical

Chemistry. New York: Oxford
University Press.
Chang, & Goldsby. (2014). General Chemistry:
The Essential Concepts. Singapore:
McGraw-Hill Education.
Electrolysis. (2014). Retrieved from
Mittal, V. (2015, September 16).
Electroplating. Retrieved from
Shorb, J. (2017, June 15). Electrochemistry
Basics. Retrieved from
XZ.L.P. Palmares, K.Z.A. Saylon, J. C. H. Sayurin, S. Villaflor 6


Raw Data

Trial 1

Initial weight Final weight Weight of

Run Current, A Time, s
of Pt, g of Pt, g Cu2+, g
A 5 120 62.802 63.006 0.204
B 5 120 62.905 63.116 0.211
C 5 120 62.905 63.125 0.220
D 5 120 62.905 63.069 0.164

Trial 2

Initial weight Final weight Weight of

Run Current, A Time, s
of Pt, g of Pt, g Cu2+, g
A 5 120 62.919 63.127 0.208
B 5 120 62.797 63.989 0.197
C 5 120 62.797 63.022 0.225
D 5 120 62.797 63.003 0.206


Determination of Moles of Cu2+ Determination of Faraday’s Constant

The mass of Cu was determined by getting the The Faraday’s Constant can be computed using
difference between the initial weight and final the formula:
weight of the electrode. The mole of Cu2+ can be 𝐼𝑇
determined by dividing the amount of Cu2+ on 𝐹=𝑛 (B.3)
the electrode by the molar weight of Cu2+ which
where 𝐼 is the current in Amperes, 𝑇 is the time
is given by:
in seconds, and 𝑛𝑒 − is the moles of electrons
𝑊𝑃𝑡 (𝐹𝑖𝑛𝑎𝑙) −𝑊𝑃𝑡 (𝐼𝑛𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑎𝑙)
𝑛𝐶𝑢2+ = 𝑀𝑊𝐶𝑢2+
(B.1) Percentage Error of Data

Determination of Moles of Electrons The percentage error of the data can be

computed using the formula as given by:
As shown in the reaction:
| 𝐹𝑒𝑥𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑎𝑙 −𝐹𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑢𝑎𝑙 |
% 𝑒𝑟𝑟𝑜𝑟 = 𝐹𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑢𝑎𝑙
𝑥 100 (B.4)
2+ −
𝐶𝑢 + 2𝑒 → 𝐶𝑢(𝑠)

the stoichiometric ratio of Cu2+ to e- is 2. Given

this ratio, the moles of electrons are given by
2 𝑚𝑜𝑙 𝑒 −
𝑛𝑒 − = (𝑛𝐶𝑢2+ )(1 𝑚𝑜𝑙 𝐶𝑢2+ ) (B.2)
XZ.L.P. Palmares, K.Z.A. Saylon, J. C. H. Sayurin, S. Villaflor 6


Sample Computations

𝑊𝑃𝑡 (𝐹𝑖𝑛𝑎𝑙) −𝑊𝑃𝑡 (𝐼𝑛𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑎𝑙)

𝑛𝐶𝑢2+ = 𝑀𝑊𝐶𝑢2+

63.006𝑔 − 62.802𝑔
𝑛𝐶𝑢2+ = 𝑔

𝑛𝐶𝑢2+ = 3.2103 𝑥 10−3 𝑚𝑜𝑙

2 𝑚𝑜𝑙 𝑒 −
𝑛𝑒 − = (𝑛𝐶𝑢2+ ) (1 𝑚𝑜𝑙 𝐶𝑢2+)

2 𝑚𝑜𝑙 𝑒 −
𝑛𝑒 − = 3.2103 𝑥 10−3 𝑚𝑜𝑙 𝐶𝑢2+ ((1 𝑚𝑜𝑙 𝐶𝑢2+)

𝑛𝑒 − = 6.4206 𝑥10−3 𝑚𝑜𝑙 𝑒 −


(5 𝐴)(120 𝑠)
𝐹 = 6.4206 𝑥 10−3 𝑚𝑜𝑙 𝑒 −

𝐹 = 93449.2104 𝑚𝑜𝑙

| 𝐹𝑒𝑥𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑎𝑙 −𝐹𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑢𝑎𝑙 |
% 𝑒𝑟𝑟𝑜𝑟 = 𝐹𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑢𝑎𝑙
𝑥 100%
% 𝑒𝑟𝑟𝑜𝑟 = 𝑥 100%
% 𝑒𝑟𝑟𝑜𝑟 = 3.1467 %