Re-inspired by The Electrochemical Glass, I decided to once again experiment with geometrical arrangements of metal discs.
I created two near identical reaction works, T1 & T2, the same arrangement of metals and a share of the same electrolyte in equal portions.
However, due to a faulty seal, one work, T2 began to leak, electrolyte dripping down the wall of my studio. I was aghast! Dismayed!!
But interestingly this ‘failure’ has resulted in two very different electrochemical reactions taking place. T1 seems to be simply growing copper dendrites, whilst the leaky T2 has produced a completely different set of reactions with the central iron disc producing orange ferrous compounds and the outer aluminium discs a range of blue and green cupric compounds.
The works were documented as they evolved, a webcam time lapse recording of the T2 reaction, a frame automatically taken every 10 minutes and a photograph manually taken of the T1 Reaction every 12 hours.
However the leak eventually led to the T2 reaction drying out such that the ongoing electrochemical reactions finally ceased taking place. As a result I abandoned the time lapse of T2, swapping it to time lapse the continuing dendritic T1 Reaction.
Rather than abandoning the dried out and leaky T2 Reaction, I attempted to seal the leaks and support the evolution of the work by the adding of electrolyte.
What have I learnt? Apart from the need to find a better and more foolproof method of creating good seals between disparate materials, the construction failure resulted in recognising the powerful effect of ‘environmental conditions’, in this case the ratio of liquid to air.
T1 was well sealed and full of liquid, whereas with T2 there was much more air and less liquid, promoting a series of clearly different, possibly oxygen related reactions. The fact that as yet, the iron in T1 has not produced any orange ferrous oxide compunds tends to support this observation.
In addition the electrochemical reactions requiring the presence of a conductive electrolyte are visibly stronger in T1 with the presence of continually growing copper dendrites, perhaps the electrical reactions are taking precedence over the mainly chemical reactions prevalent in T2.
This argument is supported by the observation that the two lower discs in T1, being more immersed in electrolyte are rich with dendritic growth whilst the upper disc being far less immersed shows only a small amount of dendritic growth coupled with tell tale blue chemical reactions indicating copper compounds.
The latest image (above) suggests that the dendrites on the two lower discs are beginning to decompose too, transforming into blue and green cupric compounds, possibly due to the slow decline of electrochemical activity.. Time will tell…