If you have ever used water to put out a fire you will know that it's the opposite of explosive. In this instructable, I aim to change that. Electrolysis is the process of using electricity to separate water(H2O) into hydrogen and oxygen gas(HHO). When using this generator hydrogen will form on the negative terminal and oxygen will form on the positive. Using common household equipment, you will be able to create gas that is capable of making dogs barking all the way down the block.
Disclaimer: Creating hydroxy gas is extremely dangerous. I am not responsible in any way for damage done to you or others.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
To create a basic hydroxy gas generator you will need the following:
1 Watertight container (preferably clear)
2 Electrodes (see next step for more details)
1 Small container of soapy water
DC Power supply
Drill with multiple bits
Step 2: Selecting Electrode
When choosing an electrode any conductive metal will do, however, some will last longer than others. This is a chart outlining a few metals and how they compare in terms of rate of oxidation. The metals further down on the chart will hold up for longer. There is also a more detailed chart located here. For this project, I will be using a carbon electrode. These can be easily scavenged from lantern batteries. For a guide on how to do this, visit this page. Carbon electrodes can also be bought as carbon gouging electrodes from a welding supplier for about 50 cents each.
Step 3: Preparing the Bottle
Before we can start harvesting hydroxy gas, we need to create a container to generate it in. To start, take the two wires and strip about 1in off each end. Next, select a drill bit just smaller than the diameter of the wire and drill two holes in opposite sides of the bottle as shown above. Then, repeat the process for the tubing that will be pushed through the cap. The next step is to attach the electrodes we selected. To do this, take one end of the stripped wire and wrap it around the carbon rod. Then simply use a zip tie to make the connection snug. Finally, push the wire and tubing through their respective holes, and epoxy the connections to ensure an airtight fit. Once complete, your generator should look somewhat like the final picture above.
Step 4: Filling and Final Steps
To create Hydroxy gas(HHO) we will need some water (H2O). Pure water is not conductive, therefore we will need to add either table salt or baking soda. I prefer to use baking soda to prevent the possibility of poisonous chlorine gas being released. Salt can release chlorine because in the chemical structure of salt(NaCl), the Cl is chlorine. As a general rule of thumb, I add enough baking soda so that there is a little left undissolved near the bottom. The final step is to insulate the generator from flashbacks this can be done by running the tubing through the bottom of a cup of soapy water. This will not only clean the hydroxy gas as it passes through but creates a barrier of water between a potential flame and the generator full of gas.
Step 5: Turning It On
If you have made it this far, chances are you are ready to fire up a generator of your own. The only thing left to do is connect a power supply. Anything from a 9v battery to a large variac will work. Only about 1.25 volts are needed, and higher voltages will only generate more heat. The key here is to use a high amperage power supply. I am using a boat battery charger set to 12v and 72 amps. Start out with a low current to check that the system is functioning as intended, and then increase the current as you see fit. If everything is working, there should be about twice the bubbles forming on the negative cathode(hydrogen) as compared to the positive anode(oxygen).
Step 6: Boom!
Once turned on, the generator should immediately start producing bubbles and push them through the tubing. The first minute or two will produce diluted gas as there is residual air within the system. After that, a flame anywhere in the vicinity of the bubbles will result in a powerful boom and a spray of water. The water is created when the hydrogen and oxygen react and revert back to their earlier form. It is truly amazing to see how much power is contained within a few bubbles of this mixture. I filled a large milk jug with this gas and lit it from behind a corner. The resulting detonation was followed by dogs barking and neighbors trying to figure out what had just happened.
For more information about a high production model and the power of these explosions, check the video above.