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HHO generator with iron electrodes Answered

Hello Everyone,

I recently found out about Sodium Hydroxide as an electrolyte.
I have read that it does not affect the electrodes like salt or baking soda and it does not create any weird gasses
like chlorine.
The main reason for using stainless steel electrodes is to prevent this corrosion, but since sodium hydroxide does not
create this corrosion, can I just use the much cheaper iron or regular steel as the electrode plates?

Thanks in advance
 

12 Replies

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Kiteman (author)2015-11-18

Small but important point; there is no such thing as "HHO".

Electrolysis actually generates two parts (by volume) of hydrogen gas and one part oxygen gas.

Be aware that if you allow the gases to mix before you collect them, the resultant mixture is highly explosive, with a flame-speed roughly five time the speed of sound.

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JStuyfzand (author)Kiteman2015-11-19

2 parts H, 1 part 0, HHO!

But it should be called 2H2 o2 right?

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Kiteman (author)JStuyfzand2015-11-19

The people who coined the term "HHO" use it to mean that the gases are "monatomic" - single atoms of hydrogen and oxygen floating around, somehow carrying more energy than "normal" diatomic H2 & O2, despite both claims being physically impossible.

Yes:

2 H2O -> 2 H2 + O2

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Kiteman (author)2015-11-17

There's a simple test - try a small test cell with a couple of iron nails as electrodes. No need to collect the gas, just watch the nails.

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JStuyfzand (author)Kiteman2015-11-20

Allright, i tested it, and the corrosion is slower than with salt but still, there was a oxide crust.

Seems like steel is the way to go, any suggestions where to scavenge it? :)

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Downunder35m (author)2015-11-17

I highly doubt wou will be happy with the results.
There is always an ion exchange happening, so at least one electrode will suffer.
As an alternative give carbon a chance, like from a carpenter pencil or old zink carbon batteries.

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JStuyfzand (author)Downunder35m2015-11-18

that has a small surface, which is needee for a HHO generator.

And carbon plates are wayyyyy too expenive.

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Kiteman (author)JStuyfzand2015-11-18

Line up a lot of pencil leads side-by side = a carbon plate.

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JStuyfzand (author)Kiteman2015-11-19

That will be a lot op pencils, I will need like 30 plates! :)

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Kiteman (author)JStuyfzand2015-11-19

It depends on the scale you're after, of course, but I'd be willing to bet that a few dozen pencils would be a lot cheaper than sheets of carbon.

Still, it's a bootless discussion until you've done the tests to check whether your chosen electrolyte corrodes your chosen electrodes.

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JStuyfzand (author)Kiteman2015-11-19

I just did the test, no corossion so far, I will let it run for ~24 hours, 1 spoon of Sodium hydroxide and good bubbles without weird smells,

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Downunder35m (author)JStuyfzand2015-11-19

Another test you can make is to cover a bit of the surface with paint.
Once the test is over use acetone to remove the paint and clean the metal.
If it is corroding you will see it on the difference in surface structure.
Also when you evaporate the remaining liquide you should end up with a white residue, if it turns rust brown you have a problem.
As an alternative for small size and big surface try stainless steel wire mesh.
You can get is quite cheap in the plumbing section as filters for rain diverters and similar.

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