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?

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Rvenne0127 days 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.

...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_crank5 months 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!

lol true


wooden spoons.jpg
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