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Splitting water at home


JWalker
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Hello, I'll make this story short, I'm successfully bottling hydrogen at home using a bucket of water, an upside down gatorade bottle and a car battery charger, I'm sure you know how the setup looks. Anyways, all of that aside I'm using salt to boost the conductivity of the water. Only thing is my water is turning green/orange and it is building up orange substance everywhere, does anyone have a guess to what this is?

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possibly since table salt is iodized.. theres an easier way to do it. my friend and i did it with an electrical outlet, two copper wires attached to it, a DC charger, and a cup full of water. to contain it youll have to use some bottle.

 

Also,zinc or aluminum in hydrochloric acid produces hydrogen. to capture that use a two hole stopper in an erlen meyer flask. one hole that has a tube in it connected to the end of a small funnel that is over the small container. and the other hole open. hydrogen should stay in the erlenmeyer. somebody point out some error if you see it.

 

the erlenmeyer would have to be inverted tho.

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the orange "crap" are a mixture of compounds produced when the anode is oxidized. It all depends on your electrodes. if ur using iron (nails, steel, etc.) you have mixture of iron chloride, iron oxide, iron hydroxide, and many more. if you use graphite (carbon) for you electrodes you will not have any residue in your water.

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what can i use for carbon electrodes? and should i still use uniodized salt? will sharpened pencils work for carbon electrodes? and if so how can i bend those like i can bend coat hangers that i am using now so they will go uner the bottle lip.

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Take a pencil and strip off all the wood. That's a cheap way to get carbon electrodes.

 

If you use a reactive metal like copper for electrolysis you'll get weird things happening. Since you're using NaCl as the electrolyte you are probably forming some copper chloride if you're using copper electrodes. Also when you use brine you will also be forming sodium hydroxide so the solution will turn basic.

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copper isnt too reactive so you wont have as much crud coming off that. to "bend: the carbon, (which you cant) take a wire and wrapp it around the bottom of the carbon stick, froming a 90 degree angle. Hot glue all over the copper wire so none of it is exposed. you can then stick the carbon into the mouth of the bottle with the wires still being able to come out and hook up to your power source.

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Also if you really like electrochemistry you can make a voltaic cell. It involves two beakers and some kind of salt bridge - be creative with that.

 

One that works is copper sulfate dissolved in one beaker with a copper electrode, magnesium sulfate dissolved in the other with a magnesium electrode, and some salt (KNO3 works well) dissolved in a solution in the salt bridge. The salt bridge should be some kind of tube that you can fill with a solution and put the ends in the beakers. Plug the ends of the salt bridge with cotton to make a semi permiable barrier.

 

Unlike an electrolytic cell in which the reaction is not spontaneous, in a voltaic cell the reaction is spontaneous. This is how batteries are made. If you've done a really good job you may be able to power a small device with your battery for awhile.

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Hi I'm new (and JWalker's friend). I was wondering if the surface area of the electrode would have any correlation to the rate of hydrogen being produced. I wouldn't think surface area has much to do with it, if at all, and I though it would only be dependent on the strength of the current (and obviously the conductivity of the solution) but we sort of did notice more bubbles being produced when more of the anode was immersed in the solution. I don't know if it was our eyes playing tricks on us and it was just few bubbles per square unit but more spread out or if there is actually something to it. If anyone knows please let me know... it's kind of bothering me :)

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Surface area DOES make a difference. Greater surface area (within reason) means more gas produced. The potential diff. (voltage) remains the same. The only factor that would affect the efficiency would be the resistance of the electrode (which is also affected by its size).

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I doubt that the orange and green crap is anything more than iron and copper rust. Jwalker is probably using iron or copper based electrodes, but I doubt that the orange and green crap is iron chloride or hydroxide. You have to heat iron to a glowing red in the presence of chlorine gas to produce iron chloride. As far as choosing electrodes, graphite works great. You can get some thick graphite electrodes at unitednuclear.com or indigo.com. If you can afford it, platinum works the best. It won't rust at all and is also malleable unlike carbon. Try finding platinum plated wire on ebay, which is cheaper than pure platinum.

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Surface area DOES make a difference. Greater surface area (within reason) means more gas produced. The potential diff. (voltage) remains the same. The only factor that would affect the efficiency would be the resistance of the electrode (which is also affected by its size).

 

Sweet, this information could greatly speed up our collecting process :).

 

haha unitednuclear... I love that site.

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