Science, Tech, Math › Science Electrolysis Definition in Chemistry Chemistry Glossary Definition of Electrolysis Share Flipboard Email Print Ivan Akira/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0 Science Chemistry Chemical Laws Basics Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated February 07, 2019 Electrolysis is the passage of a direct electric current through an ion-containing solution to drive a non-spontaneous chemical reaction. Electrolysis produces chemical changes at the electrodes. Uses of Electrolysis On an industrial scale, electrolysis is used to purify metals, including aluminum, lithium, potassium, magnesium, and sodium. It is used to produce chlorine, sodium chlorate, sodium hydroxide, and potassium chlorate. In the energy industry, it's used to make hydrogen for fuel. In the aerospace industry, it's used to produce oxygen for spacecraft. Oxygen for submarines is also isolated using electrolysis. In addition to chemical synthesis and purification, electrolysis is used to electroplate metal over a surface and for electrochemical machining to etch or clean a surface. Sources Ju, Hyungkuk; Badwal, Sukhvinder; Giddey, Sarbjit (2018). "A comprehensive review of carbon and hydrocarbon assisted water electrolysis for hydrogen production". Applied Energy. 231: 502–533. doi:10.1016/j.apenergy.2018.09.125Tilley, R.J.D. (2004). Understanding Solids: The Science of Materials. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-85276-7.