Introduction: Splitting Water the Easy Way

Picture of Splitting Water the Easy Way

Water, of course, is a big part of many great things: you, milkshakes, and water parks to name a few. Even though the ubiquitous liquid is transparent, there's more to see inside. While some molecular bonds last a lifetime, we can break these ones apart with a battery and some thumbtacks in a couple of minutes.

Let's split some water.

  • What: Splitting Water the Easy Way
  • Time: well, hopefully slowly. We will need it to survive and stuff.
  • Time of Project: oh, got it. About 30 minutes.
  • Concepts: chemistry, physics, electronics
  • Cost: ~ $1
  • Materials:
    • 9V battery (others work, just longer set-up)
    • 2 Thumbtacks (metal)
    • 2 Plastic syringes (no needle, anywhere from 5-20mL)
    • Clear plastic cup
    • Salt
    • Food coloring (optional)
  • Tools:
    • Scissors

A NOTE: there are other electrolysis at home projects out there, so look around! I am writing this one up for two things that can often be more difficult but are easy here: the creation of the electrical current and the capturing of the gasses. Okay, back to doing the impossible with chemistry.

Step 1: Ummm...SPLITTING WATER!?

Picture of Ummm...SPLITTING WATER!?

I know what you're thinking: who wants to get rid of water? I'm actually a big fan of the stuff personally, but in taking it apart we can learn about what makes it up. And don't worry, people have been doing this in some form or another since 1800 and things aren't so bad.

At this point in the text, you've come to a crossroads. You can check out some science blather down below in this step, or if you just want to break up water and not be bothered, head to the next step.

If you're still reading this part, here we go with the science stuff.

H2-Oh-No:

Water, as we know, is formed by two hydrogen molecules and one oxygen molecule, giving it its other name: H20. These bonds aren't forever, though. The single oxygen is holding on to these two hydrogen molecules by covalent bonds. This may seem super strong because the word sounds sciencey but these bonds can be overcome with about 1.23 volts of electricity.

Electrified:

This is where the battery comes in. If we apply a battery to water, well, not much happens. Pure water is, scientifically put, a sucky conductor of electricity. However, if we add a bit of salt to it, suddenly electrons can move much for freely. For comparison, seawater is about a million times more conductive than pure water.

While everyone gets all excited about the positive end of the battery (anode), it's really the negative end (cathode) that's adding all the electrons. With this negative force in the water, suddenly water starts to get tugged apart.

Passing Gas:

Water may look all balanced from the outside, but if you peer into it, it's not. When broken up, the oxygen hogs all the electrons (0 2-) while each hydrogen comes away missing theirs (H+). With a little electricity added, the water bonds start to split apart.

With the cathode having a negative charge around it, the positive hydrogen ions (H+) start hanging around. Get a pair together and it forms H2 in the form of hydrogen gas that goes bubbling to the surface. Over at the positive end, OH- ions are what's left over, which gets turned in to water, some extra free electrons, and oxygen gas, 02. These will also go bubbling to the surface. In fact, for a long time, this was the cheapest method of harvesting hydrogen gas.

If everything's going spiffy, because there is twice as much hydrogen than oxygen in water, and they both pair up to make H2 and 02 gas, you should get about twice as much volume of hydrogen gas than you do of oxygen. That's twice as much gas bubbling out of the negative end. That's what we're going to capture with the syringes.

If your brain doesn't hurt enough yet, head on over to the much more elegant explanation of what's going on at wikipedia.

Step 2: Cut Syringes

Picture of Cut Syringes

Time to catch some gas. Start by simply cutting off the tip end of both syringes so that they are open-ended cylinders. This will make it much easier for bubbles to float up into them, and for us to measure the amount of gas captured.

Step 3: Tack Up a Cup

Picture of Tack Up a Cup

Take two metal thumbtacks and push them through the bottom of the plastic cup. Space them out so that when they are placed on the 9V battery, one touches each terminal without touching each other.

With a single press-fit, they should maintain a water seal without needing any glue.

Step 4: Make a Solution

Picture of Make a Solution

Pour in the unsuspecting water, and give it a color tint if you'd like as well. Add a little bit of salt for conductivity, and give it a stir. Try pressing the thumbtacks on the battery. What happens? Which thumbtack is producing more gas and why?

If you're not getting good gas build-up on the thumbtacks, try adding a little more salt or check your battery.

Step 5: Take Apart Molecules

Picture of Take Apart Molecules

Place the syringes in the water, and pull so that there is no gas in them at the beginning. Hold the syringes so one is over one thumbtack, and is over the other. Place the set-up on your battery, and in a little bit, gas should begin bubbling up. You are splitting water into gasses!

You should find the negative terminal (cathode) producing twice as much gas by volume. You can measure this by looking at the marks on the syringe and subtracting the new water level mark from the original volume of liquid. You are harvesting PURE HYDROGEN and PURE OXYGEN. Okay, maybe pure-ish. If you want to test them, hydrogen gas is highly flammable (see: hindenburg), and if a lit match is held near it, it will give a quick pop. Oxygen gas, on the other hand, helps other things burn faster. If you hold a match near that tube, you will see it burn brighter and even re-ignite from a smolder. (Thank you to all the great comments on this matter!)

For more resources on splitting water and other electrolytic reactions, check out this video.

Have fun, get electric, and as always, keep exploring.

Comments

soulrider223 (author)2016-08-27

I was quite surprised to read (incorrectly)that Oyxgen, like Hydrogen, was flammable. I was also glad to finally read some people finally commenting (correctly) that Oygen is NOT flammble. I'm always amazed at how many people get this wrong. I've gotten into many discussions which have turned into arguments regarding people saying Oxygen is flammable. When someone has electrolyzed water into Hydrogen and Oxygen, the common test for this is to take a burning splint of wood and put it up to the small test tube which has collected a very small amount of Hydrogen in it. It will go POP as it explodes. Then, a burning splint is blown out, but still glowing red, is put in the test tube containing the Oxygen. It will relight very brightly. Sometimes it will relight many times when blown out and reinserted. In one instance, I even spoke to a firefighter who swore up and down that Oxygen was flammable. I told him to go and TRY and ignite pure oxygen.

Oxygen is an oxidizer it HELPS other things burn but does not burn by itself. To the commenter that said it "makes" things burn, that is incorrect as well. It will "help" something burn but Oyxgen can not MAKE something burn that is not flammable.

Great catch and great explanation!

If oxygen was flammable, then our atmosphere would've burnt up a long time ago. That should be the only argument one needs.

dagwinn (author)soulrider2232016-09-18

Yep. If you look up a material safety data sheet for oxygen (as all good lab-rats do), it's noted that oxygen may cause or intensify a fire, and that it's an oxidizer.

On the other hand, the MSDS for hydrogen notes, among other things, that it's an extremely flammable gas, that it may form explosive mixtures with air, and that it burns with an invisible flame.

If oxygen was flammable, it'd be noted as such on the MSDS.

rbryant7 (author)soulrider2232016-08-27

If oxygen is not flammable, then why are there signs in hospitals, oxygen in use highly flammable?

MichaelM685 (author)rbryant72016-09-01

idk why some are saying it is not a danger for flamability, there is one, but its true a cigarette won't ignite it. A cigarette lighter on the other hand, I know for a fact will ignite it, and I will never forget the time my girlfriends mother, who was on permanent oxygen breathing treatment, accidentally turned her breathing tube into a dual nozzle pure oxygen torch, which she couldnt figure out how to extinguish. Fortunatelly all she lost was her curtains on the window and a bit of her blanket. She was a heavy enough smoker for me to be sure that a cigarette wouldnt be enough, disgustingly her "clear" oxygen breathing tubes were caked with nasty brown tar from constantly smoking with them on.

eaucoin65 (author)MichaelM6852016-09-09

hey guys, liquid oxygen if flamable as a gas. If you use an oxygen machine that separates the oxygen to give you pure oxygen, it is not flamable.

soulrider223 (author)MichaelM6852016-09-02

Michael,

I'm a little confused by your comment. There IS a real danger with smoking and using oxygen. I hope my comment(s) didn't give you the impression that I was saying that there wasn't a danger just because I said oxygen wasn't flammable. There is a real danger for people who use oxygen therapy and choose to smoke at the same time. In fact, I just replied to someone else and made it very clear in that post that there is a real danger to using oxygen therapy and smoking, and why. My comment was simply to point out the fact that oxygen itself isn't flammable. Many people believe that it is. I was just pointing out the distinction that it is not. In your example of using the cigarette lighter you can certainly light the oxygen tubing on fire with the cigarette lighter but it's only the tubing that's burning, not the oxygen. There are examples of videos online where people try to light just the tubing (no oxygen flowing) on fire and it barely burns. But, turn on the oxygen and it becomes like a blowtorch. It's simply the oxygen making the fire burn much more vigorously then it would by itself but the oxygen isn't burning. Again, if it was my comment that you think gave the impression that there wasn't a danger with oxygen use and smoking, I apologize.

MichaelM685 (author)soulrider2232016-09-04

I hope I didn't create that impression either. Interesting though, I get it now, just the tube burning, nowI will never know how she lit the tubing. Obviously anyone on oxygen treatment shouldn't be smoking, and not just because they might start a fire, but we couldn't convince her to stop. Thanks for explaining it so I could understand. I didn't know oxygen was inflammable, and you are right it looked much like a blow torch, always assumed the oxygen was burning.

soulrider223 (author)MichaelM6852016-09-05

No problem at all. It's a reasonable assumption to make especially with all the signs you see around oxygen use and storage. Couple that with an accident like someone starting a fire while on oxygen therapy and it's easy to assume it's the oxygen that burns. It is quite amazing how much larger the fire is when pure oxygen is introduced. I've seen videos where people have TRIED to light oxygen tubing on fire with just a lighter or even a small torch like a propane torch and it doesn't burn very well on it's own (if t all) But, add the pure oxygen and yes, it looks much like a blowtorch. As I mentioned before they make a device that fits inline with the oxygen tubing that stops fire from continuing to burn up the length of the tubing. I think something like this should be mandatory especially in home oxygen therapy use. This particular device is called Oxysafe. I'm not sure if there are other types/brands of this type of device. Here is a quick video showing such a device in use. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMgJ91vBzWs

soulrider223 (author)rbryant72016-09-02

I guess I haven't paid much attention to whether the signs say "highly flammable" or "no smoking" or both or what. My guess is they have signs like that to keep people from using or having anything flammable around an oxygen rich environment. While Oxygen won't burn by itself it will make any existing fire MUCH worse. It will cause a small flame to flare up and be much larger. It "feeds" fire one of the thing it needs most to burn while not being flammable itself. Someone who is receving oxygen say through a nasal cannula (tube that runs under the nose) should never smoke for a copule of reasons. One if that oxygen tubing sould fall down if say, the person falls asleep the oxygen could start to be trapped within their clothing. Then, if they should drop the their cigarette, it could start their clothing on fire. The extra oxygen trapped within the clothing could cause their clothing to become an inferno very quickly. Also, the plastic that some/all oxygen tubing is made out of is flammable. If that plastic tubing should catch fire it literally becomes like a blow torch. Again, it's NOT the oxygen burning, it is the flame from the PLASTIC burning that is being fed by the oxygen thus turning what would normally be a small flame into a blowtorch like flame. There are some videos on Youtube that show just how flammable oxygen tubing can be WHEN there is oxygen going through it. By itself, it will hardly burn. But, run pure oxygen through it and it will light and burn like crazy. In addition, hospitals also have large tanks of oxygen along with probably miles of oxygen supply lines running throughout the hospitals. If there should be a fire (for any reason) those lines and those oxygen tanks could be a major hazzard in a building fire (by making the fire much worse).

There are some videos on Youtube where they set up a demonstration where the oxygen tubing is routed around a couch or chair in a living room type situation and the oxygen is turned on. They then set the oxygen TUBING on fire. Once that tubing is on fire, it burns like a blowtorch and It lights anything flammable in its path on fire. I believe they now have some special devices that they can put inline with the oxygen tubing that will stop such a fire if it should happen. I believe the flame only burns as far as one of these devices and then the flame is stopped so it can't burn along the entire length of the tubing. In my opinion such a device sould be mandatory on every piece of oxygen tubing used and certainly required on any tubing used for oxygen therapy in the home.
Here is one such video where it shows a length of oxygen tubing burining in a mock-up of home oxygen use like I described.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bXIhtXrRVA I hope links are allowed. If not and that gets edited out, just append watch?v=6bXIhtXrRVA to the standard Youtube link.

Drtim1 (author)rbryant72016-08-27

As you know O2 only assists the burning. It does not burn. Liquid O2 with a carbon bar is a useful comertial explosive used to make tunnels in Switzerland.

zv_odd (author)soulrider2232016-08-29

Whilst I you are right, the technical distinction could be overwhelming or difficult to understand for many people (especially non english speakers or very young readers) and generally Oxygen should be treated as a highly flammable substance. I would argue in this case to leave it as somewhat of a "Lie we tell children".

I was also quite surprised that I wrote it. Thank you for a great explanation in the process. :)

jwzumwalt (author)soulrider2232016-08-27

It was nice to see the technical corrections. However, there is one subtle error. All substances except Oxygen oxidize (rust) - they just very in the rate. This is part of the scientific belief for entropy. In other words, there are no non-flammable substances - none! Even gold, silver, and platinum, given tens or hundreds of thousands of years will eventually oxidize.

mkinoma (author)2016-08-30

I wish you were my son's science teacher this year.

I wish you had been mine, any year.

(I guess you are, this year.)

Tangski (author)2016-08-30

I just learned something fun today! Thank you!!! Great job, and fun to show kids!:) A great way to make science INTERESTING:)

joetomei (author)2016-08-30

In reply to the fuel cell description; instead of exploding the hydrogen that is generated, can't it be burned in a controlled fashion and used in power plants just as natural gas is used, but with no pollution products.? How does the fuel cell consumption of hydrogen compare in efficiency to the use of hydrogen in a burn and steam cycle?

deluges (author)2016-08-18

Hey, great tutorial!

Although it should be noted that whereas hydrogen is flammable, oxygen is not. It is a combustion agent which makes the burning (oxidation) of a fuel possible : you can prove that by exposing a match to the O2 syringe only, nothing should happen apart from the match burning brighter (that is if you don't have too many gas impurities such as Cl2).

Oh and for people who wondered, there is twice as much H2 as O2 created for a simple reason :

the global reaction involves 4 electrons and is : 2 H2O = 2 H2 + O2

the reaction at the cathode is 4 H+ + 4 e- = 2 H2

and at the cathode 2 O2- = O2 + 4 e-

You create twice as much H2 as O2 and they take up about the same volume, therefore the difference.

Lenora Benton (author)deluges2016-08-29

Great scientific explanation! Smart people are The BEST!!!

deluges (author)Lenora Benton2016-08-30

Haha thanks

This is a great response to the question of the chemical equations. Thank you, deluges!

jimmie.c.boswell (author)deluges2016-08-20

well actually they are the same amount of atoms. it's just that oxygen is bi-valent decreasing the space. if you could keep the oxygen in it's mono-atomic form the volumes of gas would be the same.

essencially what happens is H20 + 1,5e = 2H + O but at above 15 degrees f the O will rapidly combine with another O + O to make the bi-valent O2 and maybe O3.

nascent Oxygen O, is extremely more reactive than chlorine gas. and will result in hypergolic explosive auto-ignition with anything flammable, and result in a fierce auto-ignition fire with combustibles. and is the principal reaction in catalytic heaters and catalytic converters using platinum or palladium which strips the O2 molecule into it's nascent O form.

ozone O3 is also more reactive than O2, and slightly less reactive than nascent O. and will result in explosive hypergolic auto-ignition, of flammables, and some combustibles. and slightly more reactive than chlorine.

if you ever, plan on making nascent oxygen in any moderate quantity please be aware it will set your hair and combustible clothes on fire fiercely like gunpowder.

deluges (author)jimmie.c.boswell2016-08-21

what on earth are you on about

jimmie.c.boswell (author)deluges2016-08-21

why it is all about oxidization, reduction, safety concerns, and proper methods.

without going into too much specific detail, to give your brain something to think about.

the more you know about what your working with, the more creative, and inventive you can safely be.

what is the point to thinking your making one thing, and actually producing something more toxic and far more dangerous? because of the lack, of research.

i have even used this similar technique to make, highly reactive, highly explosive, and highly toxic chlorine dioxide acid gas and or chloric acid. using, the proper materials and voltage level. and you do not want to do this, unless you know what you are doing.

the products you get, from any electrolyte is very much dependent on the material used and the voltage level. the amount produced is dependent on, the amount of electrolyte and the current. raising the voltage level above 2volts in this case, will not produce more oxygen. it will, produce more and more chlorine as the voltage increases. and chlorine, is an oxidizer much like O2 but slightly more reactive and extremely toxic.

but if you, do not have any creativity, or curiosity this probably won't mean anything to you.

deluges (author)jimmie.c.boswell2016-08-22

I do, thanks for asking, have what I consider a fair amount of curiosity and creativity. But more relevantly I'm currently doing a PhD in chemistry that involves a significant amount of electrochemistry and am curious as to where all your misconceptions come from. In your first comment, it seemed like you read a lots of wikipedia pages about electrochem and orbital theory and compiled a bunch of keywords that sounded good to you with random prepositions into senseless sentences.

So yes, the electrolyte matters and you need to know what the redox potentials of the redox couples of the different ions/gases are in order to know exactly what you're making primarily. And yes, electrode material as well as voltage (and temperature and partial gas pressure also by the way) are important. But your first comment was - pardon my french - a shitload of misinformation, with a pedantic tone and that really rustled my jimmies.

"if you ever, plan on making nascent oxygen in any moderate quantity please be aware it will set your hair and combustible clothes on fire fiercely like gunpowder."

Sounds to me like:

"if you ever plan to make a blackhole of any moderate size, please be aware it will likely warp space time and fiercely swallow you, your home and the planet"

i.e a very dramatic warning for an even more unlikely event.

jimmie.c.boswell (author)deluges2016-08-22

do you even know, why platinum or palladium starts fires without an ignition source? and a person going for a phd, does not know this? or what element, is added to prevent this undesirable effect in platinum or palladium jewelry?

anyone who, would ever use a platinum or palladium anodes should be aware of this danger.

try throwing flowers of sulphur, in either O1 or O3 it will explode. and it, is only normally considered a combustible in normal air or pure O2 requiring an ignition source...

don't use platinum or palladium, around flammable materials. do not store, them with combustibles. they, can start fires or explosions without a spark.

nor am i wording this, to speak to phd's. i am writing for, those who may only be novices less of than college attendance. not every body here, is a chemist with a phd.

and forgive me if i am wrong, by assuming that somebody studying for a phd in chemistry or be a phd in chemistry should know this.

I work with jewelry fabrication...
What's this about platinum being dangerously flammable?
Pure platinum is not suitable for jewelry, too soft, so we alloy in 10% iridium to strengthen it. To do this, we smelt the iridium and platinum in a crucible with a blazing hot flame put directly onto the metal... we're talking very high heat of 3,215°F/1,768°C

I've never had my pure 99.995% platinum ignite or explode while alloying it to .900 plat.

Sooo... what do you mean "don't use platinum around flammable materials"? I put an oxygen accelerated torch directly on the platinum without it going kaboom.

Interesting discussion, may I chime in? I had occasion once to be at a place that sold welding gases and I saw one of their people on the loading dock smoking a cigarette right next to a full cylinder of oxygen. I said something to him about the danger, and after giving me a disgusted look he held the cigarette right next to the valve and cracked it open. All that happened when the cigarette was exposed to pure oxygen gas was that it burned much more quickly; the surrounding oxygen didn't ignite or anything despite the intense heat of the exothermic reaction with the flammable organic stuff in the cigarette. Kind of like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0zK6pdcxm0

Drtim1 (author)stever_sl2016-08-27

yes

Lovot (author)deluges2016-08-18

Oxygen makes other things flammable, the high oxygen concentration in the syringe may cause it to set on fire if a match is applied, since the syringe is made of plastic, which is flammable.

deluges (author)Lovot2016-08-21

not really as the specific surface of the plastic is not great enough, the pure oxygen would not help in any significant way compared to the diluted oxygen in the air

joetomei (author)2016-08-17

Elegant in its simplicity.

How about powering the device with solar cells. Free energy?

deluges (author)joetomei2016-08-18

If you wanna learn more, please feel free to ask! I'm doing my PhD on bio-inspired fuel cells.

Hi deluges! Tell me more about bio-inspired fuel cells! Does this involve mimicking biological processes through mechanical means or using biological specimens in fuel cell production?

Super excited to learn what you're learning about.

I'd love to! In my PhD, closer to the latter but not quite! The whole story is quite straightforward : we need different energy storage as fossil fuels are running out, and we need dense ways of storing/transporting energy for both grid and transportation purposes. We can use solar panel electricity to separate water in Hydrogen and Oxygen, keep those separated in pressurized cylinders and recombine them when needed to regain the energy (electricity) you expended separating them in the first place. Now you can recombine them by adding a flame, create an explosion but that is not a useful way of using all that energy. More interestingly, you can recombine them in a controlled fashion in a fuel cell. So instead of getting an explosive recombination, you can use the electrons and heat produced to power a device. Those fuel cells exist and are very functional, and have been implemented in hydrogen cars and some building in japan for instance. The only problem is that they use rare and expensive Platinum at both electrodes and are therefore not viable for a large scale implementation, on the scale of a country's energy grid for instance. So we're looking for new electrode materials that will do the reaction without this rare metal.

In Nature, there is a variety of pretty big and fragile molecules that catalyze (facilitate) reactions of interest very fast and efficiently, they are called enzymes. Hydrogenase enzymes for instance can do the H2 to H+ conversion or H+ to H2. Other enzymes, such as laccases, can turn O2 in water and vice versa. Some people directly attach hydrogenase and laccase enzymes onto electrodes and this is deemed "bio-fuel cell" but in our case, we try to get rid of the enzymes for several reasons : they're kind of a pain (that means, expensive) to cultivate in bacteria and they're quite fragile. What's interesting about enzymes is that although they're mostly made of organic matter (they're proteins), they also include a couple of non-rare metallic atoms (Nickel, Iron, Copper...) in very specific places and those metal atoms are responsible for the enzyme's interesting reactivity. What we do in our lab is try to look at what the environment of those metal atoms looks like in the enzyme, then synthesize smaller (because we get rid oif most of the "useless" organic matter), and sturdier molecules with the same catalytic properties and integrate those in fuel cell electrodes.

asturjack (author)deluges2016-08-27

I think, if I remember my chemistry correctly, that Hydrogen is only flammable in the presence of Oxygen. If the Hydrogen is pure it will not burn without Oxygen even if a spark is introduced. When I used to work in power generation the generator windings were cooled with Hydrogen which was monitored for purity and moisture. We manufactured the Hydrogen on site.

deluges (author)joetomei2016-08-18

Ah, welcome to the world of fuel cells and renewable hydrogen as an energy vector. There is much to learn here, I suggest starting with the wikipedia pages on fuel cells and solar fuels.

GrantP17 made it! (author)2016-08-19

Made this with a yogurt container and a cellphone charger.

So so excellent! What's your gas collection system like?

We used a plastic cup to trap it. It's not very efficient, and we can't seem to ignite it. Probably something wrong with the electrolyte. We tried salt, but it started to smell toxic, so we abandoned ship while holding our breaths.

MarianneM5 (author)GrantP172016-08-20

Cool! How is it possible to use a cell phone charger (instead of a battery)?

GrantP17 (author)MarianneM52016-08-22

If you find one of those chargers that looks like two wires fused together, then you can connect those to your leads and do it like normal. Just make sure it's a dc charger.

MarianneM5 (author)GrantP172016-08-29

ohh! I tried to use normal one :DD. But How can I know if it's dc charger?

Eric T (author)2016-08-27

I have a 12V 45 W solar panel that I use to charge my batteries on a hunting cabin. I want to divert the energy when the battery is full to a HH O splitter. then use the gasses to run a generator to run the well pump. any suggestions?

Willybb (author)Eric T2016-08-27

Hi Eric

Your would be far better to run a pump directly from the battery. With the Hydrogen you produce being at a very low pressure you are not going to have enough fuel to run any type of a useful generator. This is why Hydrogen fuel is not all that efficient. People see how easy it is to make using electrolysis but to make the Hydrogen useful it has to be compressed to a very high pressure for storage and this requires a lot of energy.

Willy

Eric T (author)Willybb2016-08-28

the smallest well pump to lift 75 feet of water from the water table to the highest appliances in my house takes .5hp. One car battery (800cca for now) at 750w/HP/2 =375 watts run power start up is approx 1000W. "Pump primed with water and starting current." 25 gallons per hour. Is not enough battery/solar capacity. To have power to recharge & operate lights. Solar panels produce power if your batteries need it or not. I was looking for another storage medium to capture the energy beyond what the battery can hold, without buying tons of batteries. Something like a forklift battery at 2800# (which I would have to rewire from 48 to 12V.

mopowah. (author)Eric T2016-08-27

What you or anyone else does with this information is not my choice and
in reading any of this you agree to consult a professional and accept
all liability and responsibility for applying anything I am NOT an
expert nor do I know any of this is correct. Any direction here may
result in misdirection so be safe and consult a professional on this
type of thing

I have an idea that may just work:

Simply scale this up use a pool of sea water a large tub of water mount your anode and cathode on the syringe instead in a manner that will retain high pressure. Also mount a one way valve to the top. You will need to have high pressure tanks with regulators that will be monitored 100% of the time as hydrogen is dangerous and explosive. From the hydrogen side what you do is add weight to the top of the syringe (which will likely be a bucket or something else in your case. To get 30lbs of pressure add 30lbs to the top of the bucket. When the bucket floats up they hydrogen is under 30lbs of pressure.

What you or anyone else does with this information is not my choice and
in reading any of this you agree to consult a professional and accept
all liability and responsibility for applying anything I am NOT an
expert nor do I know any of this is correct. Any direction here may
result in misdirection so be safe and consult a professional on this
type of thing

This is a method for pressurizing the gas that anyone can do at home. It is important that all safety is followed to a T. I suggest you look up all safety issues in hydrogen storage as many have died or been severely injured trying to do what you are going to attempt. While it is possible to do safe it will be appropriate to know what is safe and what is not also what is legal and what is not. Different valves will be required and tanks composed of specific materials will be required also valve checks must be preformed annually by a professional to ensure the safety of your operation as these valves much like your tire valves must be replaced quite often the tanks should also be inspected.

What you or anyone else does with this information is not my choice and
in reading any of this you agree to consult a professional and accept
all liability and responsibility for applying anything I am NOT an
expert nor do I know any of this is correct. Any direction here may
result in misdirection so be safe and consult a professional on this
type of thing

Essentially what you have is a bomb just waiting for any one wrong condition out of many conditions to release its energy and explode. This is not a guide to safety or me telling you exactly how to do this this is simply knowledge of getting to where you want to be. I highly suggest having a professional assist you with your setup. Safe distances, pressures, equipment, temperatures, and monitoring 100% of the time weather automated or not are all a part of the equation for hydrogen storage it is important you do not cut corners on any safety.

What you or anyone else does with this information is not my choice and in reading any of this you agree to consult a professional and accept all liability and responsibility for applying anything I am NOT an expert nor do I know any of this is correct. Any direction here may result in misdirection so be safe and consult a professional on this type of thing.

taur561 (author)mopowah.2016-08-27

You know ... Something tells me that someone is going to try this .. Despite the warnings ... Ok . So when half of Kentucky gets "blowed up " .. We know who tried it ! Still an interesting idea .

About This Instructable

83,850views

425favorites

License:

Bio: The Oakland Toy Lab is a community-based wonder lab for students to build, tinker, explore, make, break, and learn! We are writing up engaging science ... More »
More by The Oakland Toy Lab:100 STEAM Projects For TeachersSponge MotorboatPVC Saxophone!
Add instructable to: