Electrolysis of zinc chloride

Zinc metal is obtained from molten zinc chloride

Scientific name: Electrolysis of molten zinc chloride


Electrolysis of molten zinc chloride

by Royal Society Of Chemistry


Wear lab gloves and eye protection. This experiment must be performed in a well-ventilated room or in a fume hood.

Always follow general safety recommendations. Please note that conducting chemistry experiments you must comply with the relevant legal procedures in your country.

Reaction formula

Zn2+ + 2 e- → Zn

2 Cl- - 2 e- → Cl2

Step-by-step instruction

  1. Secure a crucible on a tripod using a pipeclay triangle.
  2. Secure a bung with two graphite electrodes so that electrodes are placed in the crucible but don't touch the bottom of the crucible. Connect the electrodes with a low voltage (0-12 V) powerpack and an ammeter. Current should be about 0.5 A during the experiment. 3. Put some zinc chloride into the crucible.
  3. Heat the crucible to melt zinc chloride.
  4. After 15 minutes stop heating and remove the electrodes from the crucible. Zinc crystals are obtained on the cathode.

Scientific background

Salts conduct electricity in a molten state. When the current passes through the melt, zinc ions reduce forming zinc metal on the cathode. Chlorine ions oxidize on the anode and chlorine gas is formed in this reaction.


Published on 09 September 2015

  • Fire
  • Heating with fire
  • Explosion
  • Poisoned gas
  • Organic
  • Electricity
  • Solution
  • Oxidation reduction
  • Color change
  • Precipitate
  • Gassing
  • Catalyst