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Brownlee's Water Electrolysis Apparatus is used to demonstrate that electrically conductive liquids can be decomposed and resolved into their constituent elements by means of a unidirectional electric current. The gaseous components formed by this method can be trapped and their relative volumes estimated.
The apparatus consists of a support which rests on a 1 litre beaker or jar and has two clips that each hold an inverted test tube. Platinum electrodes are positioned under the inverted test tubes and are attached to insulated connecting rods which are attached to binding posts mounted on the support. When the beaker is filled with a water-based solution and a direct current is passed between the electrodes, gases will begin to collect in the inverted test tubes.