An electrolyser is a piece of scientific equipment that splits polarised molecules into its ions. In this case it will split water into hydrogen and oxygen gas. A dry cell electrolyser is an electrolyser that is completely enclosed; the other type is a wet cell electrolyser which can be two metal plates in a bowl of water. The equipment is fairly simple but the theory behind it is a bit more complicated, if you’re not interested in the theory then skip to step 1.
Here’s the theory: the electrolyser uses the different ionic charge on the different atoms in the molecule to split it into its respective charged atoms or molecules, for example, water gets split into Hydrogen and Oxygen because in the water molecule the hydrogen is slightly positively charged and the oxygen is slightly negatively charged. These charges are only very slight, +1 electron volt (ev) for each hydrogen and -2 ev on each oxygen atom. Just for comparison 1 electron volt is 1.6×10−19 Coulombs (c) and 1 Coulomb is the charge transported by a steady current of one ampere in one second. The hydrogen is attracted to the negatively charged electrode or Cathode and the oxygen is attracted to the positively charged electrodes or Anodes. At the anodes the oxygen ions loose an electron and bond to form oxygen gas, at the cathodes the hydrogen ions get an electron from the cathode and then bond to form hydrogen gas. This transfer of electrons from and to the electrodes completes the circuit and allows current to flow. A catalyst can be used to make the process more efficient by reducing the energy needed to start the process; the catalyst that I use is sodiumhydroxide in a 1 to 40 mix with deionized water. The water doesn’t need to be deionized but it extends the lifetime of the unit as minerals and other stuff won’t build up on the electrodes.
Step 1: Parts and Tools
The PDF shows the parts of the electrolyser and how they're assembled, however I will go into this in more detail later.
There are several parts and a few tools that you will need.
8mm id 12mm od rubber tubing
3mm rubber gasket material
180cm M8 studding
18x M8 dome nuts
18x M8 nilock nuts
4x 1/4in BSP aluminium washers
2x 1/4in BSP male to male adapter
2x 1/4in BSP male to 1/8in BSP female adapter
2x 1/8in BSP to 8mm tube connector
2x 1/4in BSP 2 way ball valve
17x M7 ring terminal
15x Flag crimps
Loctite pipe sealant or equivalent