MadSci Network: Chemistry

Re: How do I seperate H and o from H2O?

Date: Sun Sep 19 21:16:12 1999
Posted By: Greta Hardin, Secondary School Teacher, Science
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 936814693.Ch

DO! DO! Do use electrolysis!  This is THE way to separate them.  But it 
sounds like you are a little fuzzy on the design.  Look around at your local 
library for help, but I can give you some pointers to begin with.  The 
following web page gives a very simple version with no collection apparatus.  
The key is the graphite electrodes.

This site will show you these pencil electrodes in action with different 
electrolytes in the water.

A few more things to get you on the right track:  If you want to separate 
the oxygen and the hydrogen, you will need two different containers.  They 
can be 2 separate glasses.  The water cannot be just water (distilled water) 
it must have soem sort of dissolved ions in it (electrolytes) or the current 
won't be able to flow through the water, and the electrolysis will not 
happen.  If you wanted to collect the gasses in the pencil electrode cell,  
you would eliminate the piece of paper,  shorten the pencils,  and place a 
test tube over each pencil.  This way the bubbles will float up into the 
appropriate test tube.  Which is oxygen and which is hydrogen?  Work out 
your redox reaction.  Your power source will have a - and + terminal.

Search the web with key words "science electrolysis water" and see what you 
come up with ( I found quite alot).  You should find a few different 
diagrams for making various electrolysis apapratuses,  along with pictures 
to help you along.

Finally go to your science teacher with your preliminary designs.  He or she 
should be able to give you some hands on help as well.

Good Luck!

Greta Hardin 

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