Electrolysis is the decomposition of hydrogen and oxygen in water. In other words you break apart the molecules that make up water to restore the elements to their original state. In this case both hydrogen and oxygen exist in a gaseous state. In order to perform electrolysis you must run an electric current through water that contains an electrolyte. The electrolyte allows current to pass through the water because pure water, or even tap water for that matter, is not conductive enough to allow electricity to pass through it. The electrolyte I added in this experiment was salt, a common household item.
Step 1: Getting the stuff
The materials you will need for this experiment are:
baking soda (it used to be salt but then I was informed that I may have been producing chlorine gas)
Hot water (enough to fill your container of choice)
a container preferably air-tight and definitely clear
a pair of screws (these will act as the electrodes you pass the
a battery (a nine volt will do nicely for your first try)
Space to work (I barely had any and that made it a lot tougher)
Materials you may want to have, but are not necessary:
a glue gun (to patch up any holes left by the electrodes)
a DC power source so you don't have to worry about the batteries
a container that can dispense the hydrogen and oxygen (see introduction)
Step 2: Build the cell
Once you've gathered all of the materials you will want to start by drilling two holes at the bottom of your container. (I drilled them at the top) You'll want these holes to be just slightly smaller than the screws you'll be putting through them. You will want the two screws to be as close as possible to each other so as to get the maximum effect when electrolyzing the water. Once you have paced the screws in you may want to hot glue around them so as to create a seal.