Preparation of Sodium Hydroxide in Diaphragm Cell
The diaphragm cell consists of a U-shaped perforated steel cathode tube which is lined inside with asbestos. Sodium chloride is kept in this cathode tube and a graphite anode dips in the solution. On passing the current, chlorine is evolved at the anode and is led away through a pipe. Sodium ions penetrate through the asbestos and react with OH- ions (from steam) to form sodium hydroxide which is collected at the bottom of the cell. Hydrogen ions (H+) obtained from steam are converted to dihydrogen gas which is liberated at the cathode and collected as an important by-product.
NaCl Na+ + Cl-
The products formed from the electrolysis of sodium chloride are sodium hydroxide, hydrogen and chlorine. All of these products have a large number of uses.