Ionic compounds conduct electricity when their ions are free to move.

Ions can move in the liquid state (after melting) or in aqueous solution (after dissolving in water).

The molten or dissolved substance is called the electrolyte. Electrolysis is the decomposition of an electrolyte by an electric current. It is used to extract reactive metals from their ores.

Electrolysis needs:

During electrolysis:

  • positive ions, cations, move to the cathode
  • negative ions, anions, move to the anode
Two electrodes connected to a cell. The negative electrode attracts positive ions and the positive electrode attracts negative ions.Ions migrate (move) towards the oppositely charged electrode