Making Hydrogen and Oxygen




Introduction: Making Hydrogen and Oxygen

In this instructable I will be explaining how to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen through the method of electrolysis. Electrolysis is where you run a current through a solution containing ions which in this case are hydrogen and oxygen. 2H2O - 2H2 + O2

the setup cost me about $45 New Zealand to make but i had some things already lying about

This project is potentially dangerous, hydrogen in the presents of oxygen will react violently I take no responsibility for any harm you cause yourself or others

also this is my first proper instructable any comments on how I could improve would be appreciated.

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Step 1: Gather the Materials

1. two 3/4 inch diameter galvanized steel pipes.
2. two 3/4 inch diameter galvanized steel end caps.
3. two 1/4 inch stainless steel bolts with nuts (nylocks work well as then you only need two)
4. four 1/4 inch stainless steel washers
5. four 1/4 inch o-ring
6. four seals from plastic bottle lids.
7. 1 valve (two optional if you want to collect both gases
8. Teflon tape
9. water

Step 2: Preparing the End Caps

Drill one 23/64 inch diameter hole in each of the end caps

Step 3: Preparing the Electrodes

Drill a 1/4 inch hole in two of the bottle seals.
put one washer on each bolt followed by the bottle seal and then two o-rings.

Step 4: Preparing the Electrodes (continued)

push one bolt into the hole in one end cap and the other bolt into the other end cap.
Drill another 1/4 inch hole in the other two bottle seals and push one onto each bolt followed by one washer on each and then a nut and screw down tight.
when screwing down you can wrap wire around the top of the bolt which gives you your connection

make sure that the bolt is vertical in the end cap so it does not touch the sides when put into the pipe.

Step 5: Attaching the End Caps to the Pipes

Wrap Teflon tape around the thread on one end of each pipe. Start from the top an work your way down.
Screw on the end caps tightly.

Step 6: Attaching the Valves

Wrap some more Teflon tape around the two remaining ends of the pipes and screw on the valves tightly.

Step 7: Testing

If you can connect a multimeter set to measure resistance to each wire there should be a very high resistance if not one of the bolts may be touching the pipe in some place which you will have to find and fix.
Fill each pipe with some water and make sure that the water does not escape anywhere

Step 8: Finished

If everything has worked so far connect the wires to a power supply of your choice. (I use a car battery connected to a couple of solar panels)
You may want to and something like salt or baking soda. I would not recommend using salt as it forms chlorine gas which is poisonous but also will react with the water forming HCl and HOCl which are acids.

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    4 Discussions

    Jack A Lopez
    Jack A Lopez

    8 years ago on Introduction

    In the intro you asked for suggestions.   So um, here goes...

    I think you could do this same trick using just one pipe, and it would only take half the quantity of materials.  

    That is to say, inside both pipes, the inside wall of the pipe is acting as one of the electrodes.  Also inside both pipes you are getting both an anode and a cathode reaction.  So I'm guessing that each pipe produces a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen, rather than hydrogen in one pipe and oxygen in the other.

    If you do decide to go with a one-pipe design, may I humbly suggest using the pipe as the cathode (-). The reason for this is that loss of metal, e.g. metal iron going to iron ions, Fe(s) = Fe+2 + 2e-
    If such a reaction is occuring it will take place at the anode(+), and it is better to have anode crumble into rust than the pipe itself, because the pipe is needed structurally to hold in the water and gasses in the cell.  That's why I suggest making the pipe be the cathode.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    First off thank you for your feed back.
    I can understand where you are coming from, on trying to do this in plastic bottles with a metal rod connecting both of them i did end up getting hydrogen and oxygen in both of them but with this I have collected the gasses from each pipe in balloons, with the balloon containing oxygen when it was lit it did not explode so I assume that there was no hydrogen produced in that particular pipe while with the other balloon I let the gas escape slowly in front of an open flame in the form of a match and instead of rushing into the balloon and exploding like when both gases were in a single balloon it produced a 2-3 cm flame out in front of the balloon. I don't exactly no why this happened but this is just what i have found.

    Jack A Lopez
    Jack A Lopez

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Hey, thanks for the reply. I don't what's going on with your thing either, but I'll trust you to figure it out, since it's your thing.

    BTW, if you are looking for new things to do with hydrogen, I saw this the other day:

    Naturally they ship it without the lifting gas, but if you can make your own hydrogen on-demand...

    Not sure what reason for you built your electrolyzer in the first place.  Was it for science, or for pyromania? Or both?  I  mean those are both good reasons.