Bubble Phenomena and Bubble Properties for Horizontal and Vertical Carbon Anode Surfaces in Cryolite Melt Applying a See‐Through Cell
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Gas bubble behavior on a carbon anode in a cryolite melt has been studied using a see-through cell. The phenomena studied have been growth, coalescence, detachment, and wetting during electrolysis. The surface orientation affects bubble behavior. Therefore, two different anode designs were tested, an anode with a horizontal downward-facing surface and an anode with a vertical surface. At the horizontal anode, it was found that one large bubble was formed by the growth and coalescence of smaller bubbles, and finally, the large bubble detached periodically. For the vertical anode surface, the detaching bubbles were smaller, and most of them had been going through a coalescence process prior to detachment. The bubbles detached randomly. The coalescence process from the initiation to the final bubble shape at the vertical surface took about 0.016–0.024 s. The current density did not affect the duration of the coalescence. The bubble diameter was decreasing with increasing current density for both anodes. The values were in the range 7.2 to 5.7 mm for the horizontal anode in the current density interval 0.2–1.0 A cm−2 and in the range 3.7 mm to 1.5 mm for the vertical anode in the current density interval 0.1–2.0 A cm−2. The wetting contact angle for the vertical anode stayed more or less constant with an increase in current density, which likely can be attributed to the decreasing bubble size rather than an increase in polarization. In addition to the bubble phenomena described and bubble properties found, the impact of the results for better design of laboratory-scale studies is discussed.