Instructables

Separate Hydrogen and Oxygen from Water Through Electrolysis

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Step 2: Materials

****DISCLAIMER**** You are putting electricity into water. It has the potential to be dangerous. Do so at your own risk. Be smart about it. If you wouldn't touch it with your hands don't stick it in the water. If you're worried about it wearing rubber gloves will give some extra insulation. ****DISCLAIMER****

****DISCLAIMER**** Hydrogen is highly flammable and explosive (think Hindenburg). The amount we're making isn't extremely dangerous, but be careful. Flying shards of glass are never fun.****DISCLAIMER****

Separating Hydrogen and oxygen from water is really simple. It can be as easy as sticking two wires leading from a battery into water and watching the bubbles form. We however want to collect all the little bubbles, so its just slightly more complicated.

Things you will need:

@ (1) Med.Container - To hold water. Preferably clear so you can see whats going on.
@ (1 or 2) Gas Collecting Containers - A test tube, or an old soda bottle like me. Also clear. 2 if you want to collect both the hydrogen and the oxygen
@ (1) Power Source - I use a 12v 1000mA adapter, 9v batteries (in a series) and other sources work too. Bigger the power source, faster the bubbles form.
@ (2) Graphite Electrodes - Optional. You can stick a bare wire into the water, but it corrodes pretty quick. You can pull them out of a 6v Lantern Battery
@ Salt
@ Water
 
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Ronnoceel1 year ago
The higher the surface area of the electrodes, the higher the rate of production... I've used a steel mesh that works quite nicely.
albapa1 year ago
This setup will produce chlorine on the anode which is a toxic and corrosive gas.

You should use sulphuric acid as this remains intact during the electrolysis. In addition, the electric conductivity is larger and hence the efficiency of your setup will be better.
Thrift shops (Goodwill, etc) often have power supplies from deceased electronic gadgets or a couple of bucks.
smartguy25 years ago
What size battery should I use to make hydrogen?
It takes 2 volts and .02 amps to split water molecules.
cmcnabb2 years ago
I made this experiment about 20 yrs ago for a science project @ school & won a chemistry award!! I managed to save this over the years & now my son is using it in high school chemistry class....I'm one prous mom!!
FRED MAXEY3 years ago
If you need to make this on a large scale, you need distilled water or deionized water, also you will need a di agent for conductivity.
FM
teche3 years ago
one dangerous way to get graphite is open up a really cheap brand of battery such as radio shack or other supermarket brand batteries.
batteries apart.jpg
neaj3 years ago
what type or kind of wire can i use? I want to try this experiment myself.
burdockwing3 years ago
on that thing you plug into the wall wich side is posative?
Of the two wires one will usually have a solid or dashed stripe on it, this is the negative lead. In the image above you can see the left half has the solid white stripe facing us.
CantDIY3 years ago
Would filtered water be better than tap water to try and get some one the bits and pieces that could be in the tap water?
Actually, the more pure the water, the less conductive it becomes. Think of it this way, tap water contains some metals and other highly conductive particulates. These particulates are better at conducting electricity than water, so removing them reduces the overall conductivity. If you are really interested in this, look into HHO generators (which this is a tiny version of.) The more you research on how it works the more you will understand how important your electrolyte (water + conductive substances) really is, it can make or break your generator's efficiency.
iSkilled5 years ago
Very important Q here. ; ) What can you use as a power source? I'm not really a tech kind of person. I want to use a 9V battery. Do I have to use an outlet or something? I have a battery charger, if that helps at all...
Alright, I want to make sure I've got this right... current is more important than voltage correct? I've got a 9 volt 1 amp transformer, and it seems to be working pretty well. if I do this with an open container and don't try to capture the hydrogen would it be possible to ignite the hydrogen right off the top of the container?
sdaw5 years ago
pencil lead works as a graphite conductor. why does the water need to be salted?
ecks516 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
Then what was burning so furiously? I heard they painted it with thermite, but the footage didn't look like a thermite reaction to me...
Hey!, I got an idea! Lets paint a hydrogen (flammable) filled ballon with rocket fuel(highly flammable)!!!Somebody noticed this when they were making it right?