Anode and cathode metals? (For electrolysis)

I want to seperate some water to get Hydrogen to play with, so I made a little electrolysis device with a 12v power supply. The only problem is that I have no idea what to use as the anode and cathode! Could I just use screws? Or pennies or something?

sort by: active | newest | oldest
1-10 of 41Next »
wizkid1800.9 months ago

When I was younger I used the carbon rods from HEAVY DUTY D CELL batteries. Gently smash them open with a hammer.
Break off all the maganese oxide and pull out the carbon rod.
You can solder leads to the caps. Dollar Sore 2 for a buck!
Do wear rubber gloves !!!

I have also used titanium. . .Ebay Two - Grade 2 - 3inch piece2 = $5

These things are actually compressed carbon dust and they use a binder.
They also love to soak up the electrolyte from the battery.
For serious applications I suggest to use a good blow torch on them first to get them to a nice red glow.
Doing so burns out all unwanted stuff that would otherwise contaminate whatever you use for the reaction.
Since the caps get lost in process I used stainless steel wire to hold them.
A great alternative for small scale are the carbon brushes you get as cheap replacements for drills and other things on Ebay.
And as you said titanium is always a good choice.

Rvenne0110 months ago

Please ignore older posts recommending Stainless Steel. Never ever use Stainless Steel in electrolysis! This will create Hexavalent chromium which is extremely toxic and highly carcinogenic. It is also illegal to have and dispose of.

Yonatan24 Rvenne0110 months ago

...Copper is safe, right?

Using copper electrodes will produce chlorine gas and it's poisonous when inhaled. They used it as a chemical weapon in World War 1.

I did some electrolysis experiments with a friend a few weeks ago. We mixed vinegar and salt, and used a 12V power supply with copper wires. It barely produced any bubbles - not anything harmful since we were in fairly well a ventilated area anyway...

I now know not to use salt, but copper produces chlorine gas too? What CAN I use!?

The best thing to use is Platinum, but who has that lying around? Graphite is the next best thing, and it's more readily available:

When it comes to the more hazardous metals such as stainless steel, it really depends on the scale when determining how hazardous it is. If you're working on a large / industrial scale then sure, it's really dangerous. If it's on a small scale then the risk is greatly reduced. But like most things, if the risk can be eliminated, why take the risk.

That's way cheaper than I thought it would. I did it in a 50ml beaker, so I think a pencil lead will be fine. Thanks.

star_crank1 year ago

Take two spoons and then attach the battery directly at the ends of the spoons.It will work.

Congratulations you answered to an 8 year old topic!

1-10 of 41Next »